McFadden goes for 1st of a potential 5 medals

As an empowering figure in the Paralympic Movement, USA’s Tatyana McFadden changed the face of disability sport and will go for five golds in London. 04 Sep 2012

“It’s all about starting local and then getting to the Paralympics.”

Tatyana McFadden has everything in her pocket except a Paralympic gold.

The 23-year-old American wheelchair racer will compete in her first of as many as five finals on the track on Monday (3 September) evening, when she takes to the start line for the 400m T54 event in her third Paralympic Games.

In Beijing, McFadden claimed silver in the 200m, 400m and 800m distances and a bronze in the 4x100m T53-54 relay. Golds in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m at the 2011 IPC Athletics European Championships showcased, though, that McFadden will be the one to beat in her class at London 2012.

“I am running five events, and it’s going to be tough running five events because that’s nine total races that I’m running,” McFadden said. “I’m just going to take it one race at a time.”

Following the 400m, McFadden could contest for a medal in the 800m on Wednesday, the 1,500m on Friday, the 100m on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.

McFadden, born with spina bifida in St. Petersburg, Russia and sent to an orphanage as an unwanted child, will be on top of the world if she can reach that top place on the podium in front of 80,000 screaming fans at Olympic Stadium.

She said she will approach each race differently, but that she hopes the crowd’s reaction will be the same for all of them.

“The marathon is very strategy based,” she said. “The 100 and the 400 are all about power to get to the finish.

“I envision all the excitement and I envision how you can’t even think and you can’t even hear your heart beat. I know it’s going to be exciting and the crowds are going to be cheering strong.”

Across the Atlantic, McFadden is known for changing the face of disability sport in her home state of Maryland.

In 1994, she was adopted by Debbie McFadden, who was working as the commissioner of disabilities for the USA’s health department, moved to the USA and took up Paralympic Sport to help regain her health.

From there, nothing could stop McFadden.

“Back in Maryland, I had a lawsuit myself when they didn’t let people with disabilities run in high school sports, so I had to take action,” she said. “I sued for no money, and we won that case down in Maryland, and now it’s been passed over in 15 states. I think that movement is very important because for me, where I started sports is locally.

“It’s all about starting local and then getting to the Paralympics.”

Related Images