Paralympian Tatyana McFadden Reunited With Birth Mother in Sochi

PHOTO: Tatyana McFadden competes during the Womens 12 km cross-country ski sitting at XI Paralympic Olympic games in the Rosa Khutor stadium near Sochi, March 9, 2014.
Share
Copy

It was an emotional homecoming for US Paralympian Tatyana McFadden, whose Russian birth mother watched her compete in Sochi over the weekend.

McFadden's birth mother sat alongside her adoptive mother as they watched the athlete, nicknamed Beast for her upper body strength, power through a grueling 12 kilometer cross country ski course.

"I just raced for my family today. When I was feeling tired, in pain and frustrated I just had to think about my family in the stands," McFadden, who finished fifth, told the Associated Press.

PHOTO: Tatyana Mcfadden poses with her Russian birth mother, second right in the first row, after her race during the ladies 12km cross country ski, sitting event at the 2014 Winter Paralympic, March 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Rob Harris/AP Photo
PHOTO: Tatyana Mcfadden poses with her Russian birth mother, second right in the first row, after her race during the ladies 12km cross country ski, sitting event at the 2014 Winter Paralympic, March 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

It was a moment many people never expected to happen.

McFadden, now 24, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia with an underdeveloped spinal cord, which resulted in her suffering paralysis below the waist.

She was sent to an orphanage after surgery where she spent the first six years of her life walking on her hands as though they were feet, according to the biography on McFadden's website.

In 1994, Debbie McFadden, who worked as an official for the U.S. Health Department, met Tatyana during a visit to Russia and decided to adopt the young girl and bring her home to the US.

McFadden enrolled her daughter in sports to aid in her physical recovery, and Tatyana blossomed into a formidable athlete.

Last year, she won the women's wheelchair race at the London Marathon less than a week after winning the equivalent race in Boston.

McFadden also has ten Paralympic medals to her name, including three gold. When she is not competing, she's a full-time student at the University of Illinois.

PHOTO: Wheelchair racers Hannah McFadden, left, and sister Tatyana McFadden train together at a local high school in Clarksville, Md, Aug. 21, 2013.
Linda Davidson/The Washington Post/Getty Images
PHOTO: Wheelchair racers Hannah McFadden, left, and sister Tatyana McFadden train together at a local high school in Clarksville, Md, Aug. 21, 2013.

PHOTO: Tatyana McFadden celebrates winning the womens 5000m T54 final during day two of the IPC Athletics World Championships, July 21, 2013, in Lyon, France.
Julian Finney/Getty Images
PHOTO: Tatyana McFadden celebrates winning the women's 5000m T54 final during day two of the IPC Athletics World Championships, July 21, 2013, in Lyon, France.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...