|About Danelle D’Aquanni|
|Known As||Danelle Umstead|
|Birth||February 15, 1972 Des Plaines, Illinois|
|Spouse||Rob Umstead 2008-Present|
|Address||Park City, Utah|
|Job||Paralympian, Alpine Skier, Motivational Speaker|
|Alumni||Plano High School|
|TV Show||Dancing with the Stars (Season 27)|
Danelle Umstead has traded in her skis for heels as she competes for the Mirrorball Trophy on Dancing with the Stars season 27 when it premieres on September 24, 2018. As a visually impaired alpine skier in the Paralympics, Danelle relies on her husband, Rob Umstead, on the slope. But now she’s going to be relying on her pro dance partner, Artem Chigvintsev, in the ballroom. Our Danelle Umstead wiki traces this athlete’s inspiring journey.
Who Is Danelle Umstead?
Born Danelle D’Aquanni on February 15, 1972 in Des Plaines, Illinois, this Paralympian is 46 years old.
She graduated from Plano High School in Texas in 1990 and her hometown is Park City, Utah.
Danelle went through a tough time in her teens. Her mother had passed away and her vision was deteriorating.
At 13 years old, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disorder that eventually leads to loss of vision.
According to her Olympic profile, Danelle can only see about eight feet ahead, which puts her visual impairment in the B2 classification. She relies on her service dogs, Betty Lynn and Aziza, to guide her.
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Happy Olympic Day! #olympicday2018 #livingtheimpossibleeveryday I embarked on this journey ,with my husband , as a visually impaired grown woman. Everyone said it was #impossible They said ; I just learned how to #ski , I was too old … We have had the distinct honor of representing #TeamUSA ,and our country, at 3 Paralympic Winter Games. On the journey, I was diagnosed with #multiplesclerosis ,and everything felt #impossible The Paralympics, and my sport, have taught me a lot. It has shown me my strengths, and made me face my weaknesses. It taught me to believe in myself, trust in others, and that hard work pays off. I have made so many #sacrifices, and I am truly thankful for my friends and family who stuck by my side. Unfortunately there are ones who didn’t #heartbreaking But true Family and friends understand and support us. Thank you @broctonumstead for being our #1fan you have sacrificed a lot for us. A very special thanks to my in laws, who have been by our side, gone to every Paralympics, helped with our boy, understood when things got too busy. Their love and support helped us, and gave me so much strength. Lynne , and @davidumstead , we love you both so much. Thanks to our sponsors, who #believe in us,support us, and help us be our best. We couldn’t do it without you @comcast @toyotausa @deloitte @naturalbalanceinc @usparalympics #olympicday #multiplesclerosis #visuallyimpaired #blindness
Danelle Umstead’s Skiing Career
When her vision was failing, her father, Peter D’Aquanni got her into skiing in 2000. She was 29 years old then and they resided in New Mexico.
“Once I clicked on my boots into the skis, it transformed my life, it was like a light switch. I just started living my life, and skiing is the amazing feeling of freedom and excitement and exhilaration and adrenaline, for sure,” said Danelle.
Her father was her first sight guide. With his help, she became a competitive adaptive skier. She also relies on her service dogs, Betty Lynn and Aziza, to guide her.
She Met Her Husband Through Skiing
Although her father was her first sight guide, Danelle struggled to find a consistent one for years. That search ended in 2008, when she met Rob Umstead in Taos, New Mexico. He would become not only her lifelong sight guide, but also her husband.
Danelle Umstead’s husband had been a ski racer for 20 years. He competed when he was attending the University of Massachusetts and had experience as a race coach.
Rob skis a few feet ahead of Danelle and relays directions and the terrain to her via motorcycle headsets. They began competing as a team in sanctioned blind ski competitions in 2007 and made it to the Paralympics in 2010.
The husband and wife duo founded the team, Vision4Gold, where vision “is to have sight, an idea, or a dream,” according to Danelle.
Rob and Danelle are parents to a boy named Brocton, who’s more into hockey and basketball. Danelle has a picture of her son with her every time she’s skiing.
Danelle Umstead Has Multiple Sclerosis
In 2010, Danelle was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She had to rework her training regime so that she could continue to ski with her developing condition.
She works with a physical therapist, a chiropractor, and a sports psychologist and practices pilates to ski with her condition.
“Because of my MS, I have to be more aware of how my body moves,” Danelle said.
She Is a Motivational Speaker
Off the slope, Danelle and Rob Umstead travel the world for speaking engagements. They motivate and advise people with disabilities who hesitate to play sports.
Danelle also mentors junior disabled athletes and works to change public perceptions of disability. She was named Adaptive Athlete of the Year in 2011 by the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and Athlete of the Year in 2010 by the National Sports Center for the Disabled for her achievements.
She is a great role model who doesn’t let anything stop her, and this can be seen through social media. When Danelle’s not skiing or training, she enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, bike riding, and camping with her family.
And if you head over to Danelle Umstead’s Instagram account, you’ll see that she’s also big on composting and gardening to grow her own vegetables.
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We made it back to LA, last night. I am so incredibly honored, to be on this amazing journey, with my partner @theartemc I truly believe if any pro dancer can do this… he can. Thank you all for your love and support. We will need your votes, and support to get us through. We hope to be our best, and make America, proud Being visually impaired, and living with multiple sclerosis, is a challenge everyday. That won’t stop me. 💃🏻✨ @dancingabc #dwts #dwts27 #liveyourimpossible #nevergiveup #ballroom #dancing #foxtrot #dance
Now, she’s taking on the ballroom instead of the slope on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. So, don’t miss Danelle Umstead when season 27 premieres on September 24 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC!