Dominique Moceanu Says Son’s Gymnastics Skills Are ‘Impressive’

08/26/2014 at 11:30 AM ET

The very first time Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu saw her 5-year-old son Vincent Michael do a back handspring, she was blown away.

“He’d only done it a couple of times with a spot,” she says. “But then a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, he just threw a back handspring.”

Vincent’s skill is more advanced than his mother’s was at that age — she says she didn’t learn the same stunt until she was 6 or 7.

“My husband and I both were like, ‘Wow! That’s pretty impressive and advanced for his age,’ ” says Moceanu, 32, who is married to Michael Canales, a surgeon and former gymnast.

Dominique Moceanu Kids Gymnastics
Nathaniel Welch

The couple’s daughter, Carmen Noel, 6, also showed an aptitude for the sport early on. “It’s unbelievable the stomach muscles we saw coming out of that little kid,” Moceanu says.

Though both of her children started gymnastics when they were a year old, they were allowed to choose whether to continue with the sport.

“We weren’t sure if it was going to be too much too soon,” Moceanu says of their decision to allow Vincent to move up to a competitive level next year. “But he really loves it and we don’t want to hold him back.”

For more on athlete moms, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Ana Calderone

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Showing 5 comments

Tee on

Goodness, Carmen looks JUST like her Momma did at that age. Only difference is that Dominique had short hair! I’ve always loved Domi as a gymnast but after reading her book, I have even more respect for her! It took real guts to speak out against Bela and Marta, speak out against some of the choices that USA Gymnastics has made!

Sue on

My 6 year old daughter can do a front full on the tumble trak! She can also do multiple flip-flops and a round-off, flip-flop back tuck on the floor! She just got her kip on bars and it is strong! She is going to compete her first year as a level 4 gymnast and barely meets the age requirements! Do you think she has what it takes to make the Olympcs? She watched the Gabby Douglas story and is now more determined than ever!

Marky on

Dominique has stayed in gymnastics shape; she looks great! Glad the children are following in their parents footsteps, and we may someday see them in competition, as well. Sue, sounds as if your daughter is on her way. Be sure she and her coaches don’t push too hard; our daughter was where yours is, and at 12, she sustained such a bad back injury, it killed her career, and it will be a lifelong issue for her. She loved the sport, though, so…. 🙂

Sue on

I am my daughter’s coach, and safety always comes before skills. She pushes herself harder than I do! My biggest concern is getting her to slow down, especially when she is tired. If I tell her she needs to take a break she reacts as though I told her she “can’t” do something and becomes even more stubborn and determined! 🙂

Carrow on

Gosh I can’t believe her kids are so big already! And she looks great after 2 kids!