Il Paralympian training for next challenge

Apr 1, 2014

Tatyana McFadden skiing in the January 2013 Nordic Skiing Nationals at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.
Credit Deborah McFadden
Fresh off a silver medal win in Sochi, Russia last month, Winter and Summer Paralympian and 2013 wheelchair ‘grand slam’ winner Tatyana McFadden is prepping for her next challenge.

Born with spina bifida, and not expected to live long, the 24-year old University of Illinois graduate will soon compete again in the London Marathon. She’s just returned from the country of her birth, where she earned a silver medal in the Paralympics, bringing her total to 11.

We’ll hear from Tatyana in a minute, but first, her adoptive mother, Deborah, on first learning her daughter wanted to compete in winter sports. She spoke with Illinois Public Radio’s Jeff Bossert:

That was Deborah McFadden, who joined her daughter in Russia along with Tatyana’s birth mother, Nina, to cheer her on in the Nordic skiing 1-kilometer sprint. Jeff Bossert talked with Tatyana last week on the University of Illinois campus.

That’s Paralympic silver medalist Tatyana McFadden talking last week with Jeff Bossert. We also heard from her adoptive mother, Deborah McFadden, who lives in Maryland. Tatyana is in Washington this week for the US Olympic Committee’s Awards show. She’s one of four nominees up for Best Female Paralympian.

Then it’s off to the London Marathon to try and add to her 2013 wins there, in Chicago, Boston, and New York. She may return to the U of I for graduate school in the fall. If that happens, Tatyana will be one of two McFaddens participating in wheelchair track events. Her sister Hannah, a native of Albania and above-the-knee amputee, who was also part of the 2012 Summer Paralympic team, is also planning to attend school in Champaign-Urbana this fall.