Paralympic medal winner, World Record holder, and Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame inductee, are just a few of Cheryl Angelelli’s accomplishments after a tragic accident in a swimming pool at the age of 14 left her a quadriplegic. At the time, some may have thought a promising athletic career was cut short. For Angelelli, it was just beginning.
She returned to the pool and made the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Swim Team where she won two Silver medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games and two Bronze medals at the Athens Paralympic Games. A 7-time world champion, Angelelli also set multiple American and World Records.
In 1991, she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Michigan and went on to win the title of First Runner-Up Ms. Wheelchair America. During her reign, she traveled as a motivational speaker, dispelling the myths and stereotypes about persons with disabilities.
retired from Paralympic swimming in 2014 and took up another Paralympic sport; competitive wheelchair ballroom dancing. She and her dance partner, Tamerlan Gadirov, are one of the top ranked Para Dance Sport couples in the U.S. She and Tamerlan have won multiple awards in the U.S. including first place at Fred Astaire World Championships in 2016 and 2019, and first place at the prestigious Ohio Star Ball in 2017. Angelelli is the co-founder of Dance Mobility, a free wheelchair ballroom and amputee dance program offered at select Fred Astaire Dance Studios across the country.
In addition to her job in health care marketing and being a motivational speaker, Angelelli now travels teaching, competing and performing wheelchair ballroom dancing. Her story and accomplishments have been reported on by major news outlets around the world including Good Morning America and Inside Edition.