In a Houston courtroom Wednesday afternoon, Dominique Moceanu got her wish. One of America's sweethearts is now a legal adult. Her parents can no longer control her or her money. CBS Correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.
Last week, the 17-year-old Olympic gold medalist ran away from home. She accused her parents of looting millions from the trust fund she built with her appearance fees and endorsements. Wednesday's ruling means she is now in charge of her own money.
"This wasn't very easy for me. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. It was even harder than competing in the Olympics. But it was something I felt I had to do for my future, my life, my career," said the teen-ager.
Dominique says her dazzling smiles
masked the pain caused by parents pushing her relentlessly to gymnastics glory, starting when she was only 3 years old. They made the decision, she said, to trade a normal childhood for Olympic gold.
When the story first broke, her father seemed puzzled and denied all their daughter's charges. "We love her very much," said Dumitru Moceanu.
"I have a lot to thank my coach for," said Dominique.
Her father blamed Dominique's coaches for the trouble and claimed he gave her everything a child could want.
"I never dictate for her to go to the gym or school. She choose to be a gymnast," said Dumitru Moceanu.
That's a choice Dominique Moceanu says she will continue to make, promising that she will go for the gold again in the next Olympic games. Then she will decide for herself how to spend all the other gold that would follow.