PARENTS

Girl Born With No Legs Fulfils Dream Of Becoming An Acrobat

13/11/2014 11:47 | Updated 20 May 2015

gymnast with no legs Jen Bricker

A girl who was born with no legs due to a genetic defect fulfilled her dream of excelling as a gymnast - and then discovered that her Olympic idol was her biological sister.

The incredible story began when Jen Bricker, who was adopted as a baby, became enthralled by the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as a child. Her favourite athlete was gymnast Dominique Moceanu, with whom she shared not only a passion for sport, but also Romanian heritage.

Despite being born with no legs, Jen had always been an active girl, and seeing Dominique's routines inspired her to pursue gymnastics. She discovered she was a natural, and was soon competing against able-bodied people - even winning a State Championship in tumbling.

gymnast with no legs Jen Bricker

As she entered her teenage years, Jen became more and more curious about her birth family, and asked her adoptive mother for information. She couldn't believe what happened next.

"She handed me a document and said, 'You're never going to believe this, but your biological last name is Moceanu'," Jen, now 27, remembers.

"As soon as the words left her lips, I knew what it meant; my childhood idol was my sister. I remember thinking these kind of things happen in the movies, this is not real life."

After finally plucking up the courage to write to her idol and explain her incredible discovery, Jen met Dominique and a younger sister, Christina, for the first time aged 21.

"The similarities were so apparent it was shocking; we sounded alike, our mannerisms were the same and with Christina, especially, it was like looking in the mirror."

Although they were raised in different families, Jen and her sisters all shared a natural athleticism and passion for sport.

"All three of us did gymnastics and Christina loved volleyball, which is my second favourite sport," Jen recalls. "I feel like a piece of the jigsaw of my life has fallen into place."

Jen now works as an acrobat and aerialist, and has performed routines in Britney Spears shows. She also tours the country as a motivational speaker.

"We are all born with unique gifts and talents and I want to show people we can use them to change lives," she said.

"Finding out my idol was my long lost sister was just the beginning, my life has been about making the impossible, possible."

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