NEW YORK – Dominique Moceanu (Houston, Texas) became the first non-Russian woman to win a Goodwill Games all-around gold medal as gymnastics competition opened at the 1998 Goodwill Games Sunday evening at Nassau Coliseum.
“I’ve always dreamed of this moment,” said Moceanu, who wiped away tears as the Star Spangled Banner played in her honor. “I was always hoping this would happen someday. I’m coming back after a really rough time. After what I’ve been through, this means so much more.”
In an evening that saw even the reigning world champion, Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina, suffer a fall, Moceanu was rock steady despite battling a head cold. The event that provide the greatest challenge of the evening, balance beam, gave Moceanu the edge. Her 9.750 was .125 ahead of Olaru and .450 better than Khorkina, who won the silver medal in the event at the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.