Disabled Athlete Tatyana McFadden Completes Marathon Grand Slam

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Russian-born US athlete Tatyana McFadden crosses the finish line and wins the Women's 200m T54 final on July 21, 2013 during the IPC Athletics World Championships of Lyon at the Rhone Stadium. (PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty)

On Sunday at the New York City Marathon, Tatyana McFadden sped across the finish line a full 3 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. She also rolled her way to an unprecedented victory, becoming the first athlete to ever win a marathon Grand Slam—winning races in Boston, London, Chicago and New York in the same year.

McFadden remained unphased as she navigated her wheelchair over the uneven streets of New York—they are nothing compared to what else she has had to overcome.

The 24-year-old Maryland resident was born in Russia with a condition called spina bifida, which left her paralyzed from the waist down. She spent the first six years of her life in an orphanage before being adopted by an American family.

Outfitted with her first wheelchair, McFadden quickly became interested in racing. But when she encountered resistance from her high school track coach, she sued the state of Maryland, arguing for equal access to school athletics for people with disabilities.

The suit resulted in the passing of country's first ever law allowing and encouraging students with disabilities to participate in school sports programs.

At 15, McFadden was the youngest member of the USA track and field team at the Athens Paralympic Games. She has since gone on to win 10 Paralympic metals and six world championships, in addition to her marathon wins.

After her win on Sunday, McFadden doesn't have much time to catch her breath. She's already preparing for her next race—the Paralympics cross-country skiing World Cup, with the hope that she will qualify for the U.S Paralympic Team in Sochi this winter.

Tatyana McFadden joins The Takeaway to discuss her remarkable achievements.


Tatyana McFadden

Produced by:

Katie Hiler


T.J. Raphael

Comments [1]

Kelly from New York

Just wondering why you choose to lead your title of the article with the word "disabled" . As a Speech language pathologist I have worked with children with various disabilities for the past 20 yrs and have always used the rule never put the disability before the person. It does not define them, and Tatyana is a prime example of someone who is not defined by her disability. She just did something no one else ( with or without disabilities) has achieved ....she won 4 major marathons in one year, 2 of them within the same week. I have a teenage girl I have been working with this year who has spinal bifida, I use Tatyana as an example of not judging some one by the chair they sit in! I would re- title your story to make it reflect the great accomplishment Tatyana achieved and please as a reporter always put the person first, not the disability.

Nov. 08 2013 02:17 PM

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