PARADE

Jen Bricker
Most people might think that if you want to be a tumbling gymnastics champion, you need legs. But just ask Jen Bricker if that’s true. She’ll tell you otherwise. “If you’re never given limits, you think you can do anything,” says Bricker, who because of a birth defect, has no legs. Born in Illinois, in 1987, her biological parents feared they couldn’t afford the cost of caring for their daughter. She was adopted by an American couple and raised in Oblong, a tiny town in Illinois. Bricker’s loving parents always encouraged her to pursue her dreams. Bricker’s dream? To be a champion gymnast. At 7, she started working on the trampoline. By the time she was in high school, she became the power tumbling champion of Illinois winning the state medal for gymnastics, against those who had had no physical challenges. She has since competed in the Junior Olympics and was a featured acrobat on Britney Spears’ Circus tour. When she was 16, her parents revealed that her biological parents’ last name was Moceanu. Yes, Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Moceanu, Bricker’s idol and favorite gymnast, was her biological sister.

The sisters have since reconnected, are the best of friends, and share a very close bond. “When I was younger, people asked if you could magically have legs, would you do it. Every time I came back the the same answer, which was, no,” shares Bricker. “My entire purpose in life is dependent on the fact that I don’t have legs. I always knew I was supposed to be born like that. This is how I can effect change. I can use my passion to help other people.”

“Bricker now lives in Los Angeles and travels the world performing and is a motivational speaker.”