Dominique Moceanu made history 25 years ago when she became the youngest American gymnast to win gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Now, the mother, wife, coach,bestselling Author, entrepreneur, and yoga teacher is getting ready for another major milestone later this year – turning 40!
Purely Inspired has teamed up with Dominique to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the then 14-year-old’s record-setting performance as part of the “Magnificent Seven” United States women’s gymnastics team, as well as to be right there with her as she prepares to celebrate her 40th birthday on September 30th.
Dominique, who will be supporting the Purely Inspired brand’s new superfood product line as part of this six-month partnership, recently made time to chat with PurelyInspired.com
about her lifetime of determination. Dominique shares her advice for busy moms, explains how she was able to find her purpose and step into her power, and talks about why she’s embracing turning the Big Four-O!
Q: Dominique, now that you’ve been able to fully engulf yourself in the Purely Inspired line, what are some of your favorite Purely Inspired products and how do you use them in your day?
A: “Well, I’m a mom on the go. So, for me, it’s about quick, easy, accessible, and affordable. So, I love that I can get Purely Inspired super easily. I love that I can make it really fast. I can scoop, put it in my cup, and take it with me to work. And when I need a little bit of nutrition and a little bit of a pick-me-up around midday, I already have it in place in the gym.
I’m starting to drink it every day. I love the Greens line. I love the Plantopia. I think that’s something that is really tasty. So, I’m really excited to be partnering up with Purely Inspired for so many reasons. I know that my immunity is getting what it needs because part of being a coach and a mom on the go is that you are rundown all the time.
So, for me, it’s about what can I replenish my body with? What can I get in healthwise to be where I need to be every day to maximize my potential and my energy so that I can be in the best health possible to make every day run as smoothly as possible? That’s always the thing. It’s about having that energy to go, go, go, go! And I feel with that nutritional boost, I’m getting at least what I need during the day to help me function better and have my body function better.”
Q: What do you enjoy doing today to stay healthy and active?
A: “Today, it’s all about living my yogic lifestyle. Being a yoga teacher, being a mom on the go, something that I’m doing to make my life better is drinking Purely Inspired products. The superfood line is something that’s amazing. I love the fact that I can boost my immunity with a scoop of the product in my water, in my coffee, and anything that I can utilize it in. It’s quick and easy and accessible.
My day-to-day is pretty on the go from the moment I get up. I get my children to the bus, I ride my bike, I do my yoga, and then I’m off to work. I have this very structured routine that’s all about having enough energy throughout my day to get to everything that I need to. And I know that replenishing my body with the superfoods line is something that has been really beneficial. And I feel very happy that I’m a part of something really great that can help so many people. That to me feels so special. I’m really excited about that on top of my coaching and doing everything else that I do. That’s something that makes me really happy.”
Q: We know you’re a very active parent. So, do you have any advice for busy parents on managing it all?
A: “Advice for busy parents? Oh, my goodness. Sometimes the hardest part is staying in balance. You know, something needs your attention here, and then there. But I think just knowing how much you can handle and understanding that balance is the key. Sometimes we all get tipped off balance, but finding a nutritional source that can supplement your hectic lifestyle and your busyness is something that I’ve found really helpful and that was necessary.
For me, it has been Purely Inspired. I have recently found that it has been so good for my health and so beneficial for when I’m having that big morning lull and I need something to pick me up. I have it in the gym with me and it’s super easy to use. For me, it’s all about what’s quick, what’s accessible, and what can I get in my drink really fast in the morning when I’m heading out the door and have a million things to do like so many moms? And part of that is taking care of yourself. You have to make sure that you are taking care of yourself.
There’s a really quick and easy way now. I’m doing it with Purely Inspired – the superfoods line and Plantopia, as well. I just really love the products because I know that my body is getting nourished when I’m on the go and I’m spreading myself sometimes pretty thin in a lot of different areas. So, I’m grateful to share that with other people and I hope that they find that valuable aspect in taking care of themselves and their lifestyles, as well. We all need a boost of, ‘Do What Makes You Feel Good,’ right? (Smiling) So, that’s important.”
Q: What does ‘Do What Makes You Feel Good’ mean to you? How have you found the feel-good moments in your life?
A: “Sometimes just doing what makes you feel good is needing that little boost of inspiration and motivation. For me, there have been daily quotes that I use. I try to always find the positive in things. And we have so many things that try to pull our attention. So, doing what makes you feel good is creating a lifestyle that you want. Creating a healthy lifestyle and inspiring through that lifestyle, and finding ways to help others. So, I’m grateful if I can do that.
I have an opportunity to do that with certain partnerships and certain alliances. I think that with Purely Inspired that’s something that inspires me just as much. To be able to help others with their health and give them a pathway that they can also have their immunity boosted because we all suffer from things that are taking our attention all the time in all areas.
So, managing all of that, finding inspiration, and also knowing that you can do it through a healthy, quick, accessible, and affordable way is something that I think is super powerful for so many busy moms on the go, busy businesswomen, and busy people. It’s great for all of them. So, I think that’s something that if you’re looking for it, you can find it with Purely Inspired, as well.”
Q: Dominique, you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, published a best-selling memoir, Off Balance, and you own a gym and a yoga studio. So, there’s this entrepreneurial side of you that’s really interesting. So, tell us, where did that come from? And how does it play back into cultivating your own path and doing what makes you feel good?
A: “I think my entrepreneurial spirit came from when I was very young. My dad was always entrepreneurial. I think he wanted to live that American Dream being an immigrant in this country. They came from very modest beginnings and that inspired me. I saw my parents work ethic. And I believe my relentless work ethic is something that is allowing me to shine and allowing me to get the job done when I need to get it done. That’s something that I carry with me from my childhood and from my years training as a gymnast. Training and putting in forty hours a week, and never really quitting. That’s a full-time job at nine years old. That’s something that challenged me, but also made me grow.
Now that I have my own business, I’m utilizing all of those techniques, methods, and drive to run my gym, be a yoga instructor, and live a healthier lifestyle. While it can constantly be thrown off balance, I’m working to strive to find ways to get it back in balance. How can I continue to stay healthy? How can I continue to stay inspired?
Part of that is feeding my body with proper nutrition. Because if I don’t get that, I feel it. I feel exhausted often times and mentally worn out. So, how do I find that way to reconnect? I make sure that my body is getting proper nutrition. And recently with Purely Inspired, that has honestly been something that has been such a turning point where I’m like, ‘Finally! I’m getting something that I need every day.’ And physically, it is allowing me to go a little longer, feel less strain, and feel less exhausted in the sense that I know my immunity is getting supported so that I can go another day and get sick less.
That’s what we strive to boost our immunities for, right? To make sure that we’re staying healthier and getting sick less. That’s something that’s really valuable because I can’t have a day off. (Laughing) I’m like most moms. I can’t have a day off. Between my children, my business, and my athletes, it’s usually hard to find a substitute. And thank goodness I have one really great sub here that can help me out since the level of gymnastics that I teach is higher, which means it’s usually harder to find people to replace you. So, I think there are a lot of factors, but mainly it’s just trying to keep yourself healthy.
Being an entrepreneur, that’s a really big goal, especially this year because I have been pulled in a lot of directions. So, where does my entrepreneurial spirit come from? Probably my dad, my work ethic over the years, and just my drive to create something. For me, it’s all about, ‘I want to create this. I want to do this.’ And then I go with it. A lot of people stop then and there and are like, ‘Eh, I don’t know if I should.’ I know that sometimes there’s doubt, but an entrepreneur pushes through those doubts.”
Q: 25 years ago, you made history. Have you been able to put that all in perspective? And not only the moment itself, but the balance of what you thought the moment meant at the time and what you realize it really meant 25 years later.
A: “It’s such a complex question. It seems like a simple question, but because my life was so different than a lot of my teammates, I was going through so many different emotions at that time – more than just the pure joy of being on the podium. I had a lot of different emotions of sadness, of happiness, of not feeling self-worth. Even going up to get a gold medal when I was 14, I was crying before I got up to the podium, and I wasn’t crying of joy. I was crying because I felt people were disappointed in me because I fell on my vault, and I was a disgrace, and I was a disappointment to the very coaches that put so much pressure on your performance and your weight. And if you weren’t perfect, you were not worthy of their love or their affection or their coaching. You were just not really worth anything.
So, those were the feelings I was working with at 14, which are very different than what you’re supposed to be feeling at that time. I couldn’t articulate why I was sad. I was sad because I felt people would be disappointed in me. And that’s never how anyone should feel walking up. I feel they stole a part of that joy.
Now, when I was watching the flag go up, a different emotion came over me. I was so proud of this moment. We were the first U.S. women’s team to ever win gold. There are times when I’m extremely exhausted and I can’t hold that front. I have to hold space for myself. I really break down about that moment. And I allowed myself to write it down and become vulnerable. It’s a part of my life that was very real. And if I think too long, I get a lump in my throat still because it was so emotional for me.
I should never have been crying going up there. I should’ve been so elated because this was a dream realized. I remember my dad having the Uncle Sam hat on and red, white, and blue and taking pictures. So, that scene was going on in front of me while I’m on the podium with my teammates watching the flag being raised. Part of me just feels worthless. And part of me feels super excited to be on the podium because it’s like, ‘We did it!’ Finally, all the hard work meant something.’ But then at the end I was just ignored by my coaches. I was abandoned at the Games. I felt like a worthless piece of nothing. So, I had to deal with those emotions over the years because I could never express until years later the honesty of it because I couldn’t articulate it. There are so many times I would just break down about the moment. And I just felt like I was robbed of that happiness.
But years later, I’ve been able to balance those emotions and work through it. Yes, there are days where it’s hard to fight those emotions back still. But I know that in the end I grew as a person, and I grew over the years through all that I went through to become the person I am today. To be passionate about seeing abuse and stepping up and doing something, and righting wrongs and doing those things that I knew were not going to win me over with a lot of people in our community initially. I saw who my real friends were and I grew so much in 25 years. I couldn’t believe how the sport blacklisted me. You know, just all of these things that were heavy for me to handle really changed my perspective on just everything. But I stayed that course.
One thing that I’m most proud of is that I didn’t give in to the pressures of people who were giving hate towards me during that time. You know, really just trying to step out of that and saying, ‘I’m doing this because this is the right thing to do.’ And now 25 years later, I can look back and say, ‘That was my real purpose.’ More than the gold medal, that was my real purpose. It’s when I stood up for my mom being abused when I was a child and I told my dad, ‘You can’t treat her like that.’ Standing up for other women and young women, then I gained that credibility with them. And I gained credibility from the community after I was already shunned for so long. But I gained credibility over the years and I think people trusted me. And that’s something that I think I’m going to hopefully have as one of my legacies – more than the gold medal.
The gold medal was an opportunity and it opened the door. But for me, the greater picture is: What did I do with all of that? I think 25 years later, that’s what all of that prepared me to do, and to be who I am today. And finally, I do what makes me feel good!”
Q: You’re going to be turning 40 later this year. For someone who talked about having that kind of moment at 14, how are you looking at 40? And do you feel that you’ve hit your stride in life now that you are full throttle, going full speed ahead and are only really worried about the important people around you who you really care about?
A: “Yes, 40 is completely different. I’ll hit 40 in September and I can tell you that I feel good. I feel like I’m in a really good place. I’m not looking at it like I got old. I’m embracing it and I feel really healthy mentally.
All those years there have been a lot of things that I had to go through emotionally and mentally. There have been some hardships. Some very, very traumatizing things have happened to me in my life. But I feel like I’m in a really good place as far as where my life is going, what I stood up for, and who I stand up for. I feel that my business is going in the right direction, my children are succeeding, the culture is shifting, even though we have a long way to go, but those are the stepping stones. Those are part of the seeds that I feel like I planted throughout the years. And I really feel good about that heading into my fortieth birthday this year.
I never imagined that I would be here in Medina, Ohio owning a gym and a yoga studio. But life has a lot of twists and turns. And I’m doing really what I want to do and I’m living my passion. I’m living in the world that I’ve created for myself, my family, and the community, and I feel really good about that.
I’m super excited to share that with my close friends. I don’t care about all those other people who used to say these negative, hurtful, and spiteful things about me because they’re not a part of my life. Honestly, the gift of goodbye is something that I’ve learned over the years. And when you’re 40, you don’t care as much about the things you did when you were younger. So, I think I’m embracing it. It’s going to be fabulous and 40. So, we’re going to roll with it!”