home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


November 1, 2013

Tatyana McFadden


TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ Wheelchair racing is like bicycle racing.テつ They have gears.テつ They have‑‑ it's a completely different chair.テつ For the racing chair, our arms are our gears.テつ We do have to push.テつ We do have brakes on our chairs.テつ The seating position is very different.テつ And it is like a pair of shoes for us.テつ That is what we use to run in.
The hand cycle bikes are for like doing Tour de France.テつ It's just very different.テつ It's easier to maintain speeds because of all the gears and to‑‑ and they can change the gears as they're climbing and going down whereas we can't do that.テつ Do you want to add to that?
JOSH CASSIDY:テつ Maybe the most comparable would be like roller skating to bikes basically.
TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ It's very different.
JOSH CASSIDY:テつ It's almost like roller blading or ice skating versus like biking, versus a power stroke, whereas power strokes the recovery is very different.テつ With biking it's continuous gears.
TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ And also our training is a lot different than a cyclist would be.テつ So our training for wheelchair racing is more like mixed with like running and same as lifting as runners would do, but we just do it with our arms.テつ But we're able to go a little bit longer and maintain a little bit of speed because of the rotation of the wheels, the speed that we create with our arms.
But yet‑‑ but still they're very two different‑‑ completely two different sports.

Q.テつ We are coming from Istanbul.テつ We are making a documentary about New York Marathon and try to inspire people that come to run and do sports, and you have the most inspirational stories.テつ Who can tell us what was your reasons to start running?
JOSH CASSIDY:テつ I was always really active. テつI played all kinds of sports.テつ As a person in a wheelchair, you're not always to compete with the same sports.テつ So for myself, wheelchair racing was something that in high school I was wanting to compete in and fell in love with the sport.テつ Again, it's just a desire to keep doing better and win.
I have role models from my own country.テつ Jeff Adams is a guy I like to watch.テつ So there were lots of people that I looked up to and saw them achieving these great things in wheelchairs around the world.テつ It's what made me want to do the sport.
TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ For me, being born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and having spina bifida, I was left in an orphanage with a hole in my back for 21 days.テつ So I was critically ill for the first six years of my life until I was adopted.
And the doctor said, she just has a few years to live, but she's really, really sick, like really weak.テつ Just do the best that you can.テつ Just keep her comfortable.テつ But my mom just thought otherwise.テつ So I used sports as a way of living life again.
I wasn't out there to be the best, to be a gold medalist, to win a hat trick, three marathons in a row.テつ I never saw that in my near future.テつ I just used it for rehabilitation almost, just to gain strength, to gain independence, but I just absolutely fell in love with wheelchair racing.テつ I tried several different sports, but wheelchair racing was‑‑ I mean, I just‑‑ as soon as I got in it, I knew that it was the sport for me.
And now, I just love to compete and to inspire others and to show others that for people with disabilities, especially newly injured, that you can live life normally.
I mean, we travel around the world.テつ We compete in several different marathons.テつ We go through the hard training and failures and loss of races and wins of races.テつ So it's about teaching and educating and being role models to everyone.

Q.テつ What's your major motivation for yourself?テつ You all have victories in the whole career.テつ Is it an advantage to have such victories for motivation or disadvantage?
TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ I think that‑‑ I mean, my motivation is probably different from Josh's, but you know, I think it's‑‑ my past definitely brought me my motivation, which is kind of unique and different from other athletes.
When training gets hard, I have to‑‑ or when I lose races, it's harder than winning races‑‑ I have to go back and think, I've been through the hardest part of my life.テつ I lived in an orphanage for six years.テつ I never got medical help.テつ I never got medical treatment.テつ It's a miracle that I lived.テつ So that's my motivation and determination and drive that I got as a young child that I carry through sports and through anything I want to do in life.
Not just sports, because I'm also a full‑time student at the University of Illinois.テつ I think just having that determination and drive as a young child, just living life every day.
JOSH CASSIDY:テつ For myself, very much the same as Tatyana as well.テつ Of course, motivation to win.テつ You want to win.テつ You want to do well.
For myself, if you really break it down, it's probably the disability, the physical problems as a young kid was a blessing because it was able to teach me lessons of how to get what I want in a different way.テつ So I used that as a tool to kind of learn and be able to use that moving forward, and then I just‑‑ as a kid, I came up with this motto without even knowing it was my motto, there was nothing I couldn't do.テつ Whatever it was, I wanted to be able to do it.
So when I fell in love with wheelchair racing, I wanted to do the best at that, and that was my motivation.

Q.テつ How did you land in the racing wheelchair?テつ How did‑‑ take me back.テつ Did your mother say, hey, let's try this.テつ What happened?
TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ Yeah, that's a great question.テつ So my mom got me involved with a local parasports club in Baltimore called the Bennett Blazers, and it's a physically challenged program through the Kennedy Krieger Center.
I tried several different sports.テつ I mean, swimming, basketball, table tennis, ice hockey, downhill skiing, and then finally wheelchair racing.テつ As soon as I got into that chair, I knew automatically that was the fit for me.テつ I mean, just pushing around the track, just having the need for speed, I really wanted to push and to excel, and I'm very competitive.

Q.テつ How old were you when you landed in the wheelchair racing chair?
TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ I was about 7 or 8 when I landed in the wheelchair racing chair.テつ I just did small, local junior Nationals, just very small races, and traveled around the United States.
But when I was in eighth grade, I remember sitting down, and we were supposed to make academicals, three academicals, but that was the year of the Olympics and Paraolympics, so I made three athletic goals.テつ And one of them was to be a Paralympian, just watching it on TV and watching athletes and sports on TV.テつ I said, I wanted to be one of those athletes.
And I said to my mom, I told her, like is it possible?テつ As an eighth grader, 14 going to 15 years old, is it possible for me to do this?テつ And she said, yes.テつ So she found trials, and having no experience, and training was far off from everyone else.テつ I just went in there, and I just pushed in races as hard as I could, and I made that trials that year, and I won a silver and bronze medal.
Being on that medal stand, I remember just getting chills and excitement, and I knew that I wanted to do that for the rest of my life.

Q.テつ Amanda McGrory was talking about how there was a social aspect to it as well, that you found other kids like you and that you could kind of find a new frame of friendships.テつ Was it social for you too?テつ Did you just like getting out there and running past everybody?
TATYANA MCFADDEN:テつ I mean both because, after coming back from‑‑ it was social in two ways for me.テつ It was social because of the local parasports club where we could all train together, but then I wanted to join my high school track team as well.テつ So that was extremely important, being included in that.
And so I got both of the social aspect, which was really important for me just to say, hey, just because you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't join your local high school track team.テつ And so‑‑ but now I'm at the University of Illinois, and being at the National Training Center, having 20 of us and a majority are paralympians and medalists, it's like competition every single day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297