SPORTS, FITNESS & DANCE

The Making of a "CHAMPION" with Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome

CHELSEA WERNER

Changing misconceptions in today's society

When Chelsea was born the doctors said her life would be limited, her muscle tone was low, and there wasn't much that could be done. Her athletic abilities would be limited. Chelsea proved them wrong; she is a 4X UNITED STATES GYMNASTICS CHAMPION and 2X WORLD CHAMPION!

Chelsea started Special Olympics Gymnastics when she was 8 years old and loved it. After a few years, her parents thought she needed to increase her training to more than 1 practice a week. They started researching local gymnastics facilities in the area looking for someone who was interested in training someone with Down syndrome. That's when they found Dawn Pombo. Dawn treated Chelsea just like any other gymnasts she trains. Dawn had high expectations and worked Chelsea very hard. Chelsea put in the hard work and the results started paying off. Special Olympics dropped the Gymnastics program in Northern California and that's when Chelsea decided to try competing in USA GYMNASTICS. The training became much more intense.   

Chelsea continued to compete at the National level with Special Olympics and won the US NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 4 consecutive years. Chelsea was also training and competing with her non-disabled peers in USA GYMNASTICS.

Chelsea traveled to London and Milan, Italy where she added 2 "WORLD" titles. Over the years it’s immeasurable how Chelsea has helped change the outdated misconceptions that exist in today's society when it comes to individuals with disabilities. Chelsea is a great example of what can be accomplished with high expectations and given the opportunity to reach her full potential.

Chelsea is still competing but is now modeling as well. She was flown to Havana, Cuba to film a campaign for H&M and has walked the runway twice at New York Fashion Week. The advertising/marketing industry is starting to be more inclusive and Chelsea is hoping to help this movement along.

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