Gold-Medal Marriage: Paralympians Rob & Danelle Umstead Talk Relationships

The Alpine skiers prove that a healthy relationship can help you achieve your dreams. Plus, how the duo prepared for the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi


During the years in which an Olympic Games competition takes place we are treated to stories that surprise, move, and inspire us in ways we couldn't even imagine. This year, thanks to the Sochi Winter Games and the Paralympic Games, is no exception. Case in point: Alpine skiers and Paralympians, Rob and Danelle Umstead. Legally blind, Danelle skis to the sound of her husband's guiding voice. Talk about facing trust issues head on!

The dyanamic couple opened up to our friends at up about their relationship on and off the course.

"None of the competition has the bond that we have," the Umsteads say. We're certain few would contest that statement. Continue reading about the Umstead's deep connection, their training, and their parenting of 6-year-old Brocton. One of the lessons they are giving their son: "People with disabilities can do amazing things."

Tell us about your rigorous training schedule that has prepared you both for the Paralympic Games.

R&D: "In the past year, we have trained in Utah, Colorado and Oregon and raced in Italy, Russia, Australia, New Zealand Canada and the United States. It's a lot of travel but it allows us to train in different snow conditions and environments.

When at home (we live/train in Colorado and Utah), we spend approximately 12 hours a week in the gym and another 10 hours working out outdoors on a bike or doing other dry land activities. We have been working hard to be as fit as possible when we get to the Paralympics."

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Together, you both are team Vision4Gold. How did you two meet each other? How do you help each other during training and competitions?

R&D: "We actually met Aprí¨s Ski in Taos, New Mexico. We were both living there and met one afternoon by chance while hanging out with friends. Little did we know it would all lead to a career as a ski racing team.

Being a married couple and racing together helps us most when the going gets tough. When it comes to trusting your guide to get you safely through a difficult race course, none of the competition has the bond that we have. Our communication and trust helps us in sport and in our daily lives. We feel blessed to have such a strong loving happy relationship."

What else do you two like doing together in your free time?

R&D: "We love to spend time with our son. We go camping, paddle surfing and Rob loves to kite board."

What is your best tip for maintaining a healthy marriage amidst training and everything else you have going on?

R&D: "Having common goals and working together to achieve them makes for a great relationship. Communication is key both on the slopes and off. The goals need to be discussed so that both of us our on the same page. Once that is clear, then working together to get there is easier."

Could you tell us about your son, Brocton? How old is he and what does he like to do for fun?

R&D: "Our son is six now. He is in kindergarten and loves it. He enjoys building LEGOs, skiing, baseball and soccer. He makes us laugh every day and is such an incredible boy. He makes life easy."

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How do you both manage your busy ski careers and raising a son?

R&D: "That is one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle for us. We need to be on the road quite a bit and he needs to be in school now. We have great support from our families. The grandparents and aunts and uncles all have pitched in to help us take care of his needs. This season we have hired a long time babysitter (five years) and friend Morgan to nanny at our house for the winter. This allows us to travel, race and train while knowing that he is happy, well cared for, and able to stay in school. Peace of mind."

The Paralympics take place from March 7th to 16th in Sochi, Russia.

Check out Celebrity Baby Scoop for the full story: Paralympians Rob & Danelle Umstead: "People With Disabilities Can Do Amazing Things"

By Jenny Schafer