Jan 16, 2019
“I never thought of myself as someone who was different.” —Tatyana McFadden
Tatyana McFadden is one of the most decorated athletes on the planet. She's a 17-time Paralympic medalist, and she has won 24 World Marathon Majors. In 2013 alone, she won the Boston, Chicago, London, and New York City marathons. In 2015, she shattered the New York City Marathon record by 7 minutes and 20 seconds. But Tatyana wasn't born into success — she was born in Russia with Spina Bifida, a disease that left her paralyzed from the waist down. She spent the first six years of her life in an orphanage, crawling on her hands because she didn't have access to a wheelchair. At six years old, everything changed: Tatyana was adopted by Deborah McFadden, who at the time was the Commissioner of Disabilities for the Bush administration and happened to be at the orphanage on a business trip. Tatyana moved to the United States, was introduced to sports as a way to get strong, and by 15 was competing at the Paralympics. In addition to her outstanding athletic accomplishments, Tatyana is an outspoken advocate for people living with disabilities, and later this spring she'll complete her master's degree in pursuit of a career as a child life specialist.
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