Madison de Rozario's career and achievements have been recognised with the Australian Paralympian commemorated as a Barbie doll.
Rozario, along with other numerous female Para athletes, will be the popular toy brand’s “Shero” doll.
“I think younger me would have never believed it,” said De Rozario, 26. “That I, personally, would be a doll. But that someone that looks like me, would be so visible. So, honestly, it really is an amazing, amazing experience. The whole thing.”
To mark International Women's Day, toy company Mattel has released several European athlete dolls such as British world champion 200m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, French soccer team captain Amandine Henry, German long jump world champion Malaika Mihambo and Turkish Paralympic swimmer Sumeyye Boyaci.
De Rozario worked closely with the Barbie team to create her likeness, which features her iconic shock of platinum hair and top knot, racing wheelchair and palm guards.
“It was a lot of communication at first, just trying to like get the doll perfect,” she said. “You know, with the race chair and all the measurements, and then the actual doll and all the features.”
De Rozario’s achievements include two silver medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics; a pair of gold medals at the Commonwealth Games for the 1500m T54 final and marathon T54; being the first Aussie to win the women’s wheelchair race at the London Marathon; and equalling the world record for the 1500m T53-54 at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix.
But she said the title of role model is something she has had to grow into.
“I think it’s something that took me a little while to come to terms with,” the Aussie said. “I think if you are representing an under-represented community, you need to do a really, dang good job of it. And that’s a big responsibility.”
“It’s more than the sport and the individual accomplishment,” she continued. “It’s about what I can do with this platform that the sport has helped build and Barbie is helping me to have an even bigger base to spread that message. I’m grateful for it now.”