Paralympic superstar Tatyana McFadden talks about new technologies that will improve lives

Tatyana McFadden

Talk about overcoming what seemed to be impossible odds! Tatyana McFadden is a Russian-born American has gone on to be one of the most celebrated athletes of our time. She is a 17-time medalist and 17-medalist in the Paralympic games and never stops trying new things.

McFadden was born with spina abifida and spent the first six years of her life in an orphanage without the aid of a wheelchair to get around.  Not to be discouraged, she learned to walk with her hands to keep up with the other kids.  In 1994, Deborah McFadden, then Commissioner of Disabilities for the U.S. Department of Health, found her and knew they were meant to be together, so  she adopted Tatyana, brought her to the United States and gave her both a wheelchair and a new start on life.

She started practicing at many sports before switching her focus onto wheelchair marathon racing.  In 2014, she added cross-country skiing to her dossier and competed at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.  There she fulfilled a lifetime dream of medaling in front of her adoptive parents and birth mother.

New technologies are constantly being developed to help the differently-abled lead more fulfilling lives.  Toyota launched a “Start Your Impossible” campaign in October with the goal of creating a truly barrier-free society for all.

A couple of the new technologies announced include a wearable device for the blind and visually impaired to enable greater independence, a walk assist robot to aid persons who have lost the use of a leg.

Tatyana McFadden spoke with Michelle Tompkins for from Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics to discuss her life journey, her goals, what mobility solutions are coming that can make people more mobile, what is the “Start Your Impossible” campaign from Toyota, what she likes to do for fun and more.

See the full interview below:

Note:  there are some sound and technical difficulties in the first few seconds of the interview, but they are quickly resolved.



She will also be competing in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5.

Learn more about Tatyana McFadden here and get more information about Toyota’s Start Your Impossible Campaign here.



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