Tatyana McFadden at the 2009 Paralympic World Cup
April 21, 1989 |
Leningrad, RSFSR, Soviet Union
|Residence||Clarksville, Maryland, USA|
|College team||University of Illinois Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Track and Field teams|
Tatyana McFadden (born April 21, 1989) is a Russian-born United States Paralympian athlete competing in the category T54. McFadden has won 10 Paralympic medals in multiple Summer Paralympic Games and is training for the 2014 Winter Paralympics in sit-ski competitions.
McFadden was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 21, 1989. She was born with spina bifida, a congenital disorder that paralyzed her from the waist down. Her birth mother abandoned her in an orphanage that was too poor to afford a wheelchair for her, so she walked on her hands for the first six years of her life. The doctors told her she was so sick that she had very little time to live. While in the orphanage she met Deborah McFadden, who was visiting Russia as a commissioner of disabilities for the U.S. Health Department. Deborah adopted Tatyana as a single mother, and took her to live in Baltimore.
McFadden took up a variety of sports while growing up to strengthen her muscles: first swimming, then gymnastics, wheelchair basketball, sled hockey and track and field. McFadden attends the University of Illinois studying for a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, and is on the University of Illinois Wheelchair Basketball team.
McFadden began racing at the age of eight. Competing in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece, she won a silver medal in the women's 100 metres - T54 event, a bronze medal in the women's 200 metres - T54 event, finished fifth in the women's 400 metres - T54 event and went out in the first round of the women's 800 metres - T54 event. She also competed at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, China, where she won a silver medal in the women's 200 metres - T54 event, a silver medal in the women's 400 metres - T54 event, a silver medal in the women's 800 metres - T54 event, a bronze medal in the women's 4 x 100 metre relay - T53-54 event and finished sixth in the women's 100 metres - T54 event.
Until 2009, McFadden specialized in shorter distance sprints. She entered the Chicago Marathon in 2009 as a lark. Unexpectedly, she won, finishing so soon that her mother didn't have her camera ready to record the victory. That was the first of a series of marathon victories for her, including New York in 2010, Chicago in 2011 and London in 2011.
McFadden became the first athlete to win six gold medals at a championships during the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon. She claimed gold in every event from the 100 meters through to the 5,000 meters. McFadden also won the Boston, Chicago, London, and New York marathons in 2013. This made her the first person - able-bodied or otherwise - to win the four major marathons in the same year. She also set a new course record for the Chicago Marathon (1 hour, 42 minutes, 35 seconds).
McFadden had difficulty competing at high school. Atholton High School, would not allow her to race at the same time as able-bodied runners, with officials saying her racing chair created a safety hazard and gave her an unfair advantage (as the best wheelchair racers are noticeably faster than runners over long distances). She competed in separate wheelchair events at high school meets, meaning that she would circle around an otherwise empty track by herself, which embarrassed her. In 2005 Tatyana and Deborah McFadden filed suit against the Howard County Public School System and won the right for her to race at the same time as the runners starting in 2006, though her score would not be counted for her team.
Her legal victory led to its own controversies, though. In 2006, one of her Atholton teammates lost her victory in the 1600 meters at the state championships after McFadden was ruled to have been acting as a "pacer" for her, by encouraging her rather than racing on her own. And in 2008, McFadden collided with a rival runner from Bishop McNamara High School after a 200-meter race, inflicting bruises and cuts to McFadden's legs and making her miss her conference title meet from the injuries.
McFadden's lawsuit is credited for the eventual passage of the Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act, requiring schools to give students with disabilities the opportunity to compete in interscholastic athletics. She was also a leader of an ultimately unsuccessful effort against a 2012 Russian law to prohibit adoptions of Russian children by American parents.
- 2013: Became the first athlete to win six gold medals at a championships during the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon. She claimed gold in every event from the 100 meters through to the 5,000 meters.
- 2013: Won the women's wheelchair divisions of the Boston, Chicago, London, and New York City marathons in 2013. This makes her the first person - able-bodied or otherwise - to win four major marathons in the same year. She also set a new course record for the Chicago Marathon (1 hour, 42 minutes, 35 seconds).
- 2012: 100m T54; 400m T54; gold medal, 800m T54; 1500m T54; marathon - Paralympic Games, London, United Kingdom
- 2012: Won the 2012 Open Women’s Division of the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division of the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia with the time of 23:53:08.
- 2011: Won the 2011 Open Women’s Division of the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division of the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia with the time of 23:39:26.
- 2010: Won the Open Women’s Division of the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division of the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia with the time of 23:47:66.
- 2008: Silver medal, 200m T54; silver medal, 400m T54; silver medal, 800m T54; bronze medal, Women's 4 x 100m relay T53/T54 - Paralympic Games, Beijing, China
- 2007: Two gold medals, 400m, 800m - Visa Paralympic World Cup, Manchester, United Kingdom
- 2007: First place, 200m (WR) - Boiling Point Wheelchair Track Classic, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
- 2007: Two first-place finishes, 200m, 800m - U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships, Atlanta, Ga.
- 2007: Three second-place finishes, 200m, 400m, 800m - Meet in the Heat, Atlanta, Ga.
- 2006: Gold medal, 100m (WR); Two silver medals, 200m, 400m,) - IPC World Championships, Assen, The Netherlands
- 2005: Gold medal, 100m; Two silver medals, 400m, 800m; Bronze medal, 200m - IPC Open European National Championships, Espoo, Finland
- 2004: Silver medal, 100m; Bronze medal, 200m - Paralympic Games, Athens, Greece
- 2003: Member of U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Team
- "Boston wheelchair winner Tatyana McFadden racing for Boston in London Marathon", Associated Press, April 19, 2013. Online at News.com.au. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- "After legal wrangle, teen wheelchair racer competes against peers", USA Today, April 19, 2006. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- "The Right To Roll", by Jeffri Chadiha, Sports Illustrated, February 26, 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- "Tatyana McFadden looking to go far and fast at Paralympics", by Kevin Cowherd, The Baltimore Sun, August 25, 2012. Also online at the Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013.04.23.
- "Last three weeks a marathon for McFadden", by John Jeansonne, November 7, 2010, Newsday. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- "Women's 100m - T54 - Final Rankings". paralympic.org. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Public schools open sports to athletes with disabilities", by Glenn Graham and Jeff Seidel, The Baltimore Sun, March 25, 2010. Retrieved 2013.04.23.
- "Russia’s Move to Block U.S. Adoptions Sets Off a Wave of Worry", by Erik Eckholm, The New York Times, December 22, 2012. Retrieved 2013.04.23.