An outstanding Paralympian

A story of determination and kindness.

Tatyana McFadden is a young woman who just needed a helping hand to realise her full potential.

Tatyana McFadden

Tatyana McFadden
  • Abandoned by her Russian birth parents in an orphanage, McFadden walked on her hands for the first six years of her life before being adopted by a family in Maryland, United States.
  • She now competes for the University of Illinois wheelchair basketball team and their track racing squad.
  • She won three gold medals at London 2012, in addition to a bronze in the 100m and a ninth-place finish in the marathon.

Watching her compete, for the first time, will be her birth mother.

“I love her,” says McFadden, who has invited her to Sochi for the Games.

“She had to do the hardest part. She could have been selfish and kept me, but medically I probably wouldn’t have been able to live long in Russia. So I’m not mad at her at all.”

And what does she think of her internationally renowned daughter?

“She sees me on the news all over Russia,” says McFadden. “I hope she’s proud.”

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