Jul 01 2020

Gymnast Becomes A Model And Breaks Stereotypes

Chelsea Werner is a gymnast from Danville, California. She also has entered the modeling world to showcase her unique perfection.

Chelsea was just a four-year-old when gymnastics came into her life as a way to strengthen her muscles. As a gymnast, Chelsea has earned national and international accolades for her routines. She became a champion and, according to Chelsea, gymnastics has taught her new skills and infused her with confidence.

Chelsea needed that confidence and family support in the modeling arena. She faced rejections, because a market did not exist for someone as unique as Chelsea. But, she persisted, and her family never gave up on her.

Patience and perseverance paid dividends. Chelsea was discovered through social media by We Speak, an agency that operates with the motive of promoting body positivity and inclusion in the modeling world. We Speak’s founder saw Chelsea’s bubbly optimistic energy in a viral video, and she immediately decided that Chelsea had the potential to succeed in the fashion world.

Since her first photoshoot, Chelsea has emerged as a global sensation. She can accept all kinds of feedback and she learns quickly about the steps required to succeed. According to many in the business, Chelsea has a bright future as a model.

Now, a little more about Chelsea. Her success in gymnastics came in the Special Olympics United States National Championships (four-time champion) and the World Championships (two-time champion). Chelsea has Down Syndrome.

Chelsea’s path to success in gymnastics and modeling has provided hope to parents with children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. She has shown that nothing can or should stop any person from pursuing interests, fulfilling dreams and achieving success.

Chelsea has proven that each of us is beautiful in our own way.

Sep 02 2016

It Was A Tough Start For One Olympic Champion

U.S. Olympian Simone Biles is on top of the world.Many consider Simone to be the best female gymnast in the world. At age 19, she already is the most decorated gold medalist in world championship gymnastics history. At Rio, Simone collected several additional gold medals.

Hidden behind her success and her beautiful smile is a very different story. Her journey has not been an easy one.

Simone was born to drug-addicted parents and her father abandoned the family. She and her siblings were shuffled between foster homes and Ohio state care. One of those foster homes became a catalyst to Simone’s current success. She often mentions that the home had a trampoline but neither she nor her siblings were allowed to jump on it.

Eventually, when she was six, Simone and her sister were adopted by their grandparents and they moved to Texas. Grandma Nellie then had a talk with Simone and sister Adria. Grandma left it up to the girls if they wanted to call her and her husband “grandma” and “grandpa” or if they wanted to consider them as “mom” and “dad.”

Simone practiced the words while looking into a mirror. She said the words ‘mom” and ‘dad” countless times. Then, she went downstairs to the kitchen, looked up at her grandma and called out.

“Mom?” Nellie quickly responded “Yes! ”

Congratulations to Simone Biles on overcoming childhood challenges and for all the success she has earned at such a young age. She is just getting started!

Mar 02 2016

An Amazing World Champion

Lani DeMello decided to dedicate some extra time to perfect a new rope routine at a Georgia gymnastics school. With prior ballet training, her footwork already is graceful. Now, she was working on the required elements of the routine.

Lani was focused on this routine after she earned the title of 2015 World Champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics. She competed against more than 20 athletes and won gold medals for some routines and silver medals for others. Her overall score earned her the world champion title. A few years earlier, Lani also won a gold medal at the event.

Now 30, Lani continues to compete at state and regional competitions. She has served as an intern for her coach, and now she also coaches other athletes.

What I haven’t mentioned is that Lani has Down syndrome. She competes in the Down Syndrome International Gymnastics Organization but she also enters non-special needs competitions. Her coaching includes special needs and non-special needs athletes.

When she was only four, Lani began to take dance lessons. A family friend suggested that she participate in the Special Olympics and, specifically, rhythmic gymnastics that is a combination of dance, gymnastics and manipulation of various apparatus. Lani started competing when she was 13 years old.

Besides Down syndrome, Lani also was born with a heart defect and poor muscle tone, both issues often associated with the medical condition. With all these challenges, just look at the progress she has made!

Her coach calls her “an ambassador to the world…showing what people with disabilities can do.” I call her “simply amazing!”

- Jim