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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Michelle Tompkins

Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.

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