When Chelsea Werner was born 25 years ago, her parents were told that she would never be able to maintain healthy muscle tone because she has Down syndrome.
Her parents made a concerted effort to encourage her to be physically fit and active as a child. She started playing soccer and swimming when she was 8, but it was gymnastics where she truly excelled!
Chelsea loved gymnastics right from the start. Her parents enlisted the help of coach Dawn Pombo, and with her training, the young woman signed up to compete in the Special Olympics.
In 2012, Chelsea entered her first Special Olympics National Gymnastics Championship. Not only did she win the event to become the national champion, but she also came back the following year and did it again. And then twice more after that!
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As a four-time national champion and a two-time world champion, Chelsea has earned her place on the Olympic podium time and again. Her mom, Lisa Werner, said her daughter’s success comes down to hard work and lots of time in the gym.
“Chelsea has developed a very good work ethic from gymnastics,” Lisa said. “She works very hard many hours a week. She is very disciplined and has learned to work through difficult situations. She has incredible confidence and self-esteem.”
The fashion industry is becoming more inclusive every day, so it didn’t take long before they came knocking on Chelsea’s door! The New York-based modeling agency We Speak, which specializes in diversity and inclusivity, gave her a contract that launched her modeling career.
She fell in love with modeling right away and vaulted into her new career with her usual positive attitude. She has already appeared in campaigns for Target, H&H, Aerie, and others. She even landed on the cover of “Teen Vogue.”
Chelsea has always been fearless on the gymnastics mat, and now she’s bringing that same sense of adventure to mainstream modeling. She said no matter what she wants to do, she just gives it her all!
“Do what you love and always try your best,” she added. “Be grateful and try to stay positive.”
Terrific advice from a real trailblazer! It’s so nice to see faces like Chelsea’s in major ad campaigns. Let’s hope this inclusive trend continues so we can meet more incredible people like her.
Watch Chelsea perform a gymnastics routine in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story to introduce your friends to an extraordinary athlete and model.
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