Growing up, Jen Bricker didn’t use the word “can’t” – there was nothing she couldn’t do, despite the fact that she was born without legs.
Raised by her adoptive parents, Gerald and Sharon, in a small town in Illinois, Bricker grew up thinking she was no different than any of the other kids. And to the amazement of everyone around her, she succeeded in following her dreams – competing and winning titles in softball, basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics.
“She’s always amazed us. But she’s really never surprised us because we watched her from you know the very beginning doing things that we never dreamed that she would do,” said Sharon Bricker, Jen’s mother.
Bricker was particularly enthralled with gymnastics, and her idol, Dominique Moceanu, whom she remembers watching on television and thinking, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we were related?” It was a possibility, however remote in her mind, as she knew her biological parents were Romanian like Moceanu’s family.
But when she was nearly sixteen years old, Bricker discovered that the fantasy was reality: her longtime gymnastics idol was in fact her biological sister.
“She was my idol—my only idol, the only person I would ever consider as an idol. All this floods in my mind, you know, in 2.5 seconds,” said Bricker, of learning about her biological family. “And I’m like stunned and I’m shocked, and I can’t believe this is happening, and just all these emotions, because it’s like a movie. This just doesn’t seem like real life.”
The sister’s relationship today is a modern fairytale.
“I know my mom was much more emotional. I think she had carried a lot of guilt,” Dominique Moceanu said. “I think what they did for Jen was actually in hindsight the best thing that ever happened to her.”
Now twenty-seven years old and living in Los Angeles, Bricker is an accomplished aerialist and acrobat. She toured internationally in 2009, performing with Britney Spears on tour. She has also headlined shows at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, the Lincoln Center in New York, and the Shangri La Hotel in Dubai.
The Full Frame team meet Jen Bricker and learned about her unlikely, yet happy-ending story.