Watching professional gymnastics can be so mesmerizing; the graceful moves and impressive acrobatics leave us non gymnasts unable to fathom how it’s possible for the human body to achieve so much.
This 22-year-old is rocking the world with her gymnastic abilities. But not only is she a four-time national champion, she also has Down syndrome.
Chelsea Werner from California started doing gymnastics as a way of strengthening her muscles as low muscle tone is a symptom of her diagnosis.
Just four years later this impressive young lady was training for the Special Olympics!
Knowing how much their daughter loved gymnastics and how far she had come in four years her parents set about looking for a top level coach to work with Chelsea.
They found Dawn Pombo who saw the potential in Chelsea and admired how hard she worked to achieve her dreams.
It was a struggle to start with as Chelsea would have to take regular breaks and complained that her stomach hurt. Her coach said she could barely walk on the balance beam one direction and back without falling.
“I would say to her parents, ‘I’m going to try to teach her, you know, a back handspring,”’ Pombo told Today. “They’re like, ‘Oh, there’s no way. Are you kidding?’ No, I think she can do it.”
Chelsea was determined to prove her talent and began training for 16 hours a day. Pombo pushed her as hard as any other gymnast she had worked with, seeing in her the potential to become something great.
Her hard work and determination has paid off as Chelsea has now won four national championships at the Special Olympics and the International Down Syndrome Foundation World Championships title. She also appeared as a special guest at this year’s NCAA women’s gymnastics championship.
Chelsea’s journey is one remarkable road! Chelsea and her family, as well as her coach, have refused to let her condition get in the way and allowed her to achieve her dreams, against all odds.
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