As children, Linda Mastandrea and her sister Laura were inseparable, as many twins are, except in sports. Linda was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy when she was three years old. It wasn’t until she began her studies at the University of Illinois that she learned about wheelchair racing and set off on her athletic career.
Mastandrea became a two-time Paralympian who won a gold and a silver medal in track at the 1996 Paralympic Games. She has also represented the United States at three World Championships, the Pan American Games and the Stoke-Mandeville Wheelchair Games, winning fifteen gold and five silver medals, and setting national, world and Paralympic records numerous times throughout her athletic career.
As an undergraduate at Illinois, Linda also learned about the legal side of disability rights, and she went on, while she was actively competing in athletics, to earn a law degree at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Today she is in private practice as a lawyer, specializing in disability law and advocacy.
Mastandrea is a published writer, co-author with her sister Donna Czubernat of “Sports and the Physically Challenged: An Encyclopedia of People, Events and Organizations.” She was Director of Paralympic Sport and Accessibility during Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games (won by Rio), presenting Chicago’s case with other hometown luminaries like President and Mrs. Obama. She also has served on numerous boards and committees, including AT&T’s Advisory Panel on Access and Aging, the City of Chicago’s Building Board of Appeals, the International Paralympics Committee’s Legal and Ethics committee, and the board of Access Living.
Linda Mastandrea will be blogging from the 2012 Paralympic Games in London for MEDAL QUEST.Back To Athletes