Font size bigger Font size smaller
INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
Imagen
Danielle Umstead

Danelle Umstead

Alpine Skiing
3

Visually impaired US skier Danelle Umstead and her guide husband Rob are together known as team Vision4Gold.

Their incredible relationship has taken them to two Paralympic Winter Games and has seen them step onto the podium twice consecutively.

However before 2015 they had not won a World Championships medal, agonisingly missing out by just one place four times.

That all changed at the 2015 World Championships, with not just one but three medals. They also finished on top of the World Cup rankings in 2014-15.

Danelle is an inspiration to many not just because of her ability to ski down a mountain with only the voice of her husband to follow, but also because in 2010 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and has being skiing with the condition ever since.

The pair are determined to compete at PyeongChang 2018 and with a switch in focus to the downhill as Danelle’s specialist event, the plan appears to be coming together nicely.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
B2
Guide
Rob Umstead [husband]

Further personal information

Family
Husband Rob, son Brocton
Other names
Danelle D'Aquanni
Residence
Park City, UT, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first tried adaptive skiing in 2001 in New Mexico, United States of America.
Why this sport?
Her father introduced her to the sport and was her guide. She found that the more she skied, the more she craved speed and steeper terrain. "I felt a sense of freedom and joy I had not experienced since losing sight. I love to work hard, I love feeling in control, and out of control at the same time. It gives me the adrenaline I never knew I craved. The mountains, the sun, and my skis are my happy place."

International debut

Year
2010
Competing for
United States
Tournament
World Cup
Location
Vancouver, BC, CAN

General interest

Nicknames
D (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Hobbies
Hiking, tandem cycling, camping, paddleboarding, shopping, working on her house, spending time with family and friends. (teamusa.org, 07 Mar 2018; 30 Jan 2017)
Hero / Idol
Her mother, her husband and her son. (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Injuries
In 2016 she broke the radius bone in her arm after crashing at the 2016 US National Championships. She had a plate and 10 screws inserted into the injury. (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She likes to listen to singer Michael Franti prior to a race. (teamusa.org, 30 Jan 2017)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Living the impossible every day." (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Awards and honours
She was named Adaptive Athlete of the Year at the 2011 United States Ski and Snowboard Association [USSA] Awards. (nordicskiracer.com, 24 May 2011)

She was named the 2009/10 Athlete of the Year by the National Sports Center for the Disabled [NSCD] in Winter Park, CO, United States of America. (LinkedIn profile, 2017)

During her career she has received a Utah History-Maker Award in the United States of America. (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Famous relatives
Her husband Rob competed in able-bodied skiing at university level in the United States of America. (cnn.com, 16 Dec 2016; vision4gold.com, 2010)
Impairment
She began losing her sight at age 13 after she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and early onset macular degeneration. She initially lost all usable vision in her right eye and by age 27 had lost central vision in her left eye. In 2010 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (IPC, 10 Feb 2018; cnn.com, 16 Dec 2016; paralympic.org, 03 Oct 2015; denverpost.com, 20 Feb 2010)
Other information
ILLNESS
In 2010 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She had been training in Colorado, United States of America. "I woke up the next morning and I couldn't feel anything on the right side, from my rib cage all the way to my foot. I had to learn how to walk again, I had to learn how to jog again, I had to learn how to do sit-ups again. This is an ongoing struggle. Learning to manage the fatigue and overcoming the bad days has taught me a lot about never giving up and never giving in." (IPC, 10 Feb 2018; cnn.com, 16 Dec 2016)

DANCING WITH THE STARS
In 2018 she became the first vision impaired person to ever compete in the US TV show 'Dancing with the Stars'. "In 2007 I stood in front of the TV, holding my son Brocton as a newborn baby, and said out loud 'I want to be the first blind person on Dancing with the Stars.' I'm so excited and I'm honoured, and I can't believe life came full circle and my dream is really coming true. You better be really careful what you wish for!" (paralympic.org, 25 Sep 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (Vancouver, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill Visually impaired Final Round 3
Women's Super-G Visually impaired Final Round 4
Women's Super Combined Visually impaired Final Round 3
Women's Giant Slalom Visually impaired Final Round 8
Women's Slalom Visually impaired Final Round 9999
2011 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships (Sestriere, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill VI Final 2011-01-16 9999
Women's Super-G VI Final 2011-01-18 4
Women's Super-Combined VI Final 2011-01-19 4
Women's Slalom VI Final 2011-01-20 6
Women's Giant Slalom VI Final 2011-01-21 9999
IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships (La Molina, Spain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill VI Race 1 2013-02-20 4
Women's Super-G VI Race 1 2013-02-21 5
Women's Slalom VI Race 1 2013-02-24 9999
Women's Super-Combined VI Race 1 2013-02-25 4
Women's Giant Slalom VI Race 1 2013-02-26 5
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill Visually Impaired Final Round 2014-03-08 5
Women's Super-G Visually Impaired Final Round 2014-03-10 4
Women's Slalom Visually Impaired Final Round 2014-03-12 4
Women's Super Combined Visually Impaired Final Round 2014-03-14 3
2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships Panorama (Panorama, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill VI Race 1 2015-03-04 2
Women's Super-G VI Race 1 2015-03-05 2
Women's Super-Combined VI Race 1 2015-03-07 3
Women's Giant Slalom VI Race 1 2015-03-08 9999
Women's Slalom VI Race 1 2015-03-10 4
2017 IPC Alpine skiing World Championships Tarvisio, ITA (Tarvisio, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill VI Race 1 2017-01-25 4
Women's Super-G VI Race 1 2017-01-26 3
Women's Super-Combined VI Race 1 2017-01-28 9999
Women's Giant Slalom VI Race 1 2017-01-30 7
Women's Slalom VI Race 1 2017-01-31 8
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-10 9999
Women's Super-G Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-11 6
Women's Super Combined Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-13 8
Women's Giant Slalom Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-14 8
Women's Slalom Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-18 9999