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Dominique Moceanu
Discusses the 2008 Olympics

She may not be competing anymore, but her love for gymnastics has not waned a bit. Like so many of us, Dominique and her husband, Mike Canales, are suffering from Olympic Hangover - too many late hours glued to the television.

Her first interest of course, is her daughter Carmen Noel, who is almost eight months old and is already showing gymnastic abilities. At this young age she is climbing and crawling and in fact, just discovered stairs! "It's scary for mommy that's for sure."

Dominique will definitely introduce her daughter to gymnastics, but the decision as to whether or not to pursue it will be all hers.

Dominique Moceanu and husband Mike Canales with baby Carmen Noel Canales

Although she loves every minute of the Olympics, she is very disappointed in the contrived controversy over the age of the Chinese gymnasts.

"Is there a chance the documentation was falsified? Yes. Did they provide proper documentation? Yes. The Olympic Committee addressed this issue before the competition and said they were no longer going to investigate. It was a done deal."

She goes on to say that there is no way to prove the issue one way or the other and finds the comments by her previous coaches Marta and Bella Karolyi to be harmful to the sport. "It sounds like sour grapes and takes away from the spirit of the Olympic Games."

She reminds us that when she competed in the '96 games in Atlanta she looked very, very young - and in fact was only 14. "Gymnasts prolong puberty and growth spurts. I had a baby face and looked like I was 10."

Chinese and Japanese gymnasts are "always very tiny" but she pointed out that we did not see the Japanese on television because they were not in the running for the Gold. She thinks that since the IOC deemed the issue dead, it should be left at that, rather than have the event tainted with poor sportsmanship.

"The girls from both teams deserve better than to have the Karolyi's keep this up. He [Bella] is not the best spokesman for the sport."

She does agree with one of Karolyi's comments about scoring. Dominique would like to see the "Perfect 10" come back because it represented such an icon for the sport. It allowed viewers and participants to all understand the ratings. "Most people watching don't really understand what a 16 means or how it came about."

Of course, one more controversy haunts the Gymnastics and that is the United States/China tie for the gold. In other sports, two gold medals would have been given. In gymnastics, an intricate tie breaking system is in place and the Gold was given to the Chinese.

Once again, Dominique simply takes note of the rules. "This is the rule that is in place. Many coaches and gymnasts don't bother to read all of these things, but it is in the rule book."

She remembers the 1988 men's team when three gold medals were given in the same event. The rules were changed in 1997 - there would no longer be duplicate medals given out in gymnastics.

Of course, she also pointed out that if the US had been given the Gold in the tie breaker it would be the Chinese complaining. "It is a somewhat biased complaint. Both [He Kexin and Nastia Liukin] did an outstanding job."

After major events such as the Olympics, young children often go into sports like gymnastics. This time will be no exception, according to Dominique, but she expects to see a lot more swimmers than gymnasts, thanks to the tremendous work of Michael Phelps.

"He did so much good for his sport, and the negativity surrounding gymnastics won't help at all. Mothers are not going to want to have their child involved in a sport with so much controversy."

She still considers gymnastics to be the greatest sport ever and loves watching the men's teams as well as the girls. She had the chance to see Misty May-Treaner and Kerry Walsh live in Athens and is so excited to watch them in Beijing. She also watches indoor volleyball because her sister plays and is excited with the Track and Field. "My husband and I just decided we would be sleep deprived for two weeks."

Dominique can identify with the pressures, fears and excitement these young ladies are going through. "Mental training is as important as physical training." She says you have to focus and not let your mind wander.

She was thrilled when Shawn Johnson had her "Golden Moment". "She's had such a great year. She is a tremendous athlete."

Similar to Diana Munz's feeling about swimming, Dominique is proud that her sport does not take part in "trash talking" or trying to "psych-out" an opponent. There is a mutual respect among gymnasts from other countries, since, like the swimmers, so many of them have competed in other venues and have gotten to know each other.

"There is a genuine respect for the sport and the athletes. You feel good that you are part of a sport that can help bring the world together. This should be the story. This should be the highlight of the Olympics. We all strive to win, but we are genuinely happy for whoever does win."

She is not sure if Nastia (now 20) or Shawn (now 16) will compete in London in 2012, if for no other reason than physical changes to their bodies in these long four years. She has her eye on Mattie Larson, who sustained a leg injury this year.

Dominique is very proud of all of Team USA and says they should be proud of themselves as well. "They had the honor of putting on the greatest show on the grandest stage of all and did a great job. I am very proud of Team USA."

Gymnast Dominique Moceanu with gold medal from Atlanta 1996 Olympics

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Dominique Moceanu and Mike Canales baby Carmen Noel Canales

Dominique Moceanu

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