Tatyana McFadden is a multi-medal winner in track and field, a racer who competes at the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and marathon lengths. In 2011 she had a 5-for-5 performance at the IPC World Championships, winning five medals in five events, four of them gold. Also in 2011 Tatyana finished first in the Chicago Marathon’s wheelchair division, which qualified her for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Tatyana was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, with spina bifida, a spinal malformation that left her paralyzed below the waist. Abandoned at an orphanage, she spent the first six years of her life in an institution so poor, it could not afford to buy her a wheelchair. Tatyana learned to “walk” on her arms and hands.
In 1994 McFadden’s life changed dramatically when she was adopted by an American woman on a business trip to Russia. Tatyana was very sick when Deborah McFadden first brought her home, and her mother enrolled her in sports groups to help with her recovery.
Tatyana quickly took to wheelchair racing. At 15 she was the youngest member of the U.S. track and field team at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, her first international competition. She won a silver medal in the 100m and a bronze in the 200m.
Since then, she’s won top honors at many competitions: At the 2006 IPC World Championships McFadden won a gold medal and set a world record for her time in the 100m, and she also won silver in the 200m and the 400m. In the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, she brought home three silver medals, in the 200m, 400m and 800m races, and a bronze in the 4x100m relay. She also won the Chicago Marathon in 2009, and the New York City Marathon in 2010.
In London, McFadden will be the first athlete competing in sprints through marathon. She made it her dream to qualify in all of these events and now hopes to medal in all.
At the University of Illinois, where she is pursuing a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Tatyana’s teammates on the wheelchair racing team fittingly gave her the nickname “Beast” for her impressive strength and racing ability.
She is active as a role model and supporter of organizations like the Girls Scouts of America and the Bennett Blazers, the Baltimore sports program for young athletes with disabilities that gave Tatyana her start in competitive sports.
Tatyana is on Facebook and Twitter @TatyanaMcFadden, and has a personal website at http://www.tatyanamcfadden.com/home.html, where her motto is “Sports is my passion, paving access for others is my purpose.” She will be a featured athlete on MEDAL QUEST in August.Back To Athletes