She was born without legs, but by the age of seven she shocked everyone by becoming a gymnastics champion for the state of Illinois.
Everyone thought that Jennifer Bricker would be destined for a life of hardship. However, the hand of destiny brought her an amazing adoptive family, who gave her one simple rule: “Never say can’t.” Her new parents, Sharon and Gerald Bricker, helped her forge a life of triumph, not tragedy.
Jennifer loved competing in ball games during her school life. “I was right there with everyone else,” she told BBC. “My parents didn’t treat me differently so I didn’t grasp the concept that I was different. I knew I didn’t have legs but that wasn’t stopping me from doing the things I wanted to do.”
Jennifer with her parents, Sharon and Gerald Bricker.
As a child, Jennifer was obsessed with gymnastics, and her idol was Olympic gold-medalist Dominique Moceanu. Jennifer’s childhood dreams came true when she discovered her idol was in fact her long-lost sister.
Despite her disability growing up, Jennifer was drawn to gymnastics and idolized American Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu. And after competing in and winning gymnastic competitions at the State level, Jennifer learned a shocking secret that Dominique was actually her biological sister.
“I was drawn to her because we looked alike and that was so important to me,” Jennifer said in an interview with BBC.
“No-one looked like me growing up. I didn’t know any other Romanian people. I just saw myself in her in so many ways and that was a big deal for me.”
Three amazing sisters, from left to right: Dominique Moceanu, their younger sister Christina Moceanu, and Jennifer Bricker
“She told me that I was the reason she started gymnastics, and I thought that was a beautiful thing,” Dominique told BBC. “I never imagined she would do all of these sports without having legs.”
“She’s wonderful, she’s up there in the air and you can see her passion,” Dominique praised her sister. “I’m proud of her as an older sister—she’s really living her dreams.”