Dominique Moceanu was expected to be a major medal threat at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. However, following the 1996 U.S. Nationals, where she placed third in the all-around, she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her right tibia.Her injury forced her to sit out the Olympic Trials, and she was petitioned onto the team on the strength of her Nationals scores.
At the Olympics, still struggling with her injury and sporting a heavily bandaged leg, Moceanu contributed to the team gold medal by turning in strong performances, good enough to qualify her for the event finals on balance beam and floor exercise. However, she faltered in the last rotation of team optionals, falling on both vaults and forcing the U.S. chances of a gold medal to rest solely on teammate Kerri Strug’s final vault. With Strug injuring herself in the successful attempt, Moceanu took her place in the all-around finals. Unfortunately, mistakes cost Moceanu a medal there, and she placed ninth. In the balance beam event final, Moceanu fell when she missed a foot on a layout and crashed into the balance beam on her head. She finished the exercise and went on to a strong performance in the floor finals later that day, finishing fourth and just missing a medal.