Tatyana McFadden has been breaking barriers since birth. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia with an underdeveloped spinal cord, she had to fight just to survive. After moving to the United States, she fought to gain acceptance on her high school’s track and field team. In 2012 she outworked her competitors to win three gold medals in track and field. She followed up that accomplishment with a marathon grand slam in 2013 winning the Boston, London, Chicago and New York City marathons, a feat no one had ever accomplished before. In 2014 Tatyana has her sights set on dominating another sport: Nordic.

 

Disability: Spina Bifida

Achievements: A two sport athlete, Tatyana has won 10 Paralympic mdeals and 15 World Championship titles in Track and Field. Tatyana also became the first person ever to win a grand slam in the major marathons (Boston, London, Chicago and New York) in 2013. Nordic: Nationals, January 2013 two silvers and a gold

Starting Point: I began Nordic last year. I am continuing to learn techniques, but I love the challenge and find that this is good cross training for marathons. The cardio and the strength needed for both Nordic and marathons are similar.

Challenges: I am used to track competitions in the summer so getting used to cold weather and having to layer with clothes and gloves instead of a tank top is new to me. Learning this sport in the past year means I saw a lot of snow in my face as I was learning new techniques. I needed to learn about the equipment and find a way to get a custom sit ski made for me.

Unique Perspective: I was born with spina bifida in St. Petersburg, Russia. I am looking forward to going back to Russia, but this time not as a “poor, unwanted orphan” but as an elite athlete who is representing her new country of America. I hope to be on the medal stand to not only make the USA proud of me, but to show those in Russia that a person with a disability can achieve so many good things.