NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Olympics

Michael Phelps and Aly Raisman's Surprise Gift to 2 Olympic Fans Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes

Recipients Chelsea Werner and Ronny Jones were born with Down Syndrome and are Olympic superfans.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

Olympians Aly Raisman and Michael Phelps have been named official hospitality ambassadors for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

As teammates with On Location, hospitality provider for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the champion athletes will be recalling personal Olympics highlights and spotlighting packages fans can use at sporting venues and around Paris to make their experiences unforgettable.

Swimming champ Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, is stoked to help people “create lifelong memories of their own through the incredible Paris 2024 hospitality packages,” he said in the announcement.

Gymnastics star Raisman, a six-time Olympic medalist, said being an ambassador “means so much to me.”

RELATED: See Team USA's Medal-Worthy Olympic Uniforms and Gear Ahead of the Summer Games

Phelps and Raisman present surprise gifts to Special Olympics competitors

Raisman and Phelps have already embraced their roles as ambassadors. In videotaped presentations they surprised Chelsea Werner and Ronny Jones, two dedicated athletes born with Down Syndrome who have each competed in the Special Olympics, with curated trips to Paris.

Werner and Jones were presented with packages that include premium accommodations, meet-and-greets with Olympians, and experiences for shopping, dining, and sightseeing in Paris. Similar packages are available for purchase through On Location, the official hospitality group for Paris 2024.

Raisman, whose achievements include three gold, two silver, and one bronze from the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, was honored to gift Werner with the package after meeting her years prior. “Ever since I met Chelsea several years ago, I’ve enjoyed following her journey and gymnastics career,” Raisman said in the videotape.

Werner couldn’t walk until she was 2 and was told she’d always have low muscle tone. But at age 8 she discovered gymnastics and excelled. Werner is now a four-time gymnastics champion and three-time world champion.

In the video, Raisman marveled at the young athlete’s tumbling skills and love for the sport. “It’s so fun to be able to see her have this incredible gymnastics career. I loved being able to surprise her,” she said. And suffice to say, Werner was overjoyed by her surprise.

RELATED: The History of the Olympic Games, From Ancient Greece to the Modern Era

Phelps, who has won 28 Olympic medals — 23 of them gold, three silver, and two bronze — across five Olympic games beginning in 2000, echoed that sentiment about Jones, who began competing in equestrian at age 6. In high school he helped create unified sports programs in football and track and field. After graduating high school, he competed in swimming, basketball, golf, soccer, and volleyball.

For the presentation, Phelps connected with Jones via video. “So good to see you, dude. It’s been too long,” he said. “How’s swimming going now?”

Jones said “very well” and that he was looking forward to the upcoming swim season, as well as his wedding. He sweetly asked about Phelps’ family.

Then Phelps had a question for Jones. “How would you like to come to Paris?” he asked. “Go to some events. Stay at a really cool hotel. Cheer on Team USA and all these amazing competitors.”

“Are you kidding me, I would love that,” said Jones. “Let’s do this.”

“Ronny has such a big heart and is a huge role model for everyone in his community, me included,” Phelps said. “I’m excited that he has this chance to experience the best of the Olympic Games.”

If they gave gold medals for ambassadorships, we know who should get them.

For further information and to purchase hospitality packages, visit dedicated hospitality sales platforms for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Summer 2024 Olympics coverage begins on July 26. It will be available to watch on NBC and Peacock.

Read more about: