London countdown: Tatyana McFadden's fierce five
Tatyana McFadden, a six-time Paralympic Games medalist, will compete in five events at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, hoping to win her first ever Paralympic Games gold medal.
Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.) will be one of the busiest athletes at the London 2012 Paralympic Games with five individual events on her agenda, the most of any U.S. female track and field athlete (along with Shirley Reilly, a T53 wheelchair racer). With the women’s 100 meter (T54), 400m, 800m, 1500m and the marathon on her plate, she will become the first wheelchair racer to run sprints through the marathon at a Paralympic Games.
McFadden is a six-time Paralympic Games medalist, claiming silver and bronze at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and three silvers and a bronze at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. With five days until the start of the Paralympic Games on Aug. 29, here is a look at her pursuit of a first ever Paralympic Games gold:
Women’s 100 meters (T54)
A former World Champion and the reigning World Championship bronze medalist, McFadden currently holds the American record in the women’s 100 meters (T54). In London, McFadden will have a familiar foe on the track, her sister Hannah, who at 16-years-old is making her Paralympic Games debut as the youngest member of the track and field team. It is the first time that sisters have competed against each other for Team USA at the Paralympic Games. Amberlynn Weber (Liberty Lake, Wash.) is the third American in the event. Tatyana is ranked No. 1 in the world in the women’s 100m (T54) while Weber is No. 8 and Hannah is No. 9.
Women’s 400 meters (T54)
McFadden enters the women’s 400m as the reigning World Champion, making it one of her strongest events. At the 2008 Paralympic Games, she finished second in the event, the same finish she achieved at the 2006 International Paralympic Committee Athletic World Championships. McFadden is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 400m (T54), with her best time being 1.77 seconds faster than No.2 Diane Roy of Canada.
Women’s 800 meters (T54)
The women’s 800m is one of four races that McFadden won at last year’s World Championships. In 2008, she claimed the silver medal in the race. Currently, McFadden is ranked No. 1 in the world in the women’s 800m (T54), with her season’s best time of 1:46.97 putting her well ahead of No. 2 Manuela Schaer (1:49.66) of Switzerland and No. 3 Shelly Woods (1.50:30) of Great Britain.
Women’s 1500 meters (T54)
In the women’s 1500m (T54), McFadden is ranked No. 1 in the world with a 3:22.41 time at the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Trials – Track and Field, where she beat Great Britain’s Shelly Woods (3:23.04) and Team USA’s Christina Schwab (3:23.68), who are ranked second and third. McFadden is the defending World Champion.
Women’s marathon (T54)
The marathon may be the weakest event for McFadden as she comes into the competition ranked No. 9 in the world in the T54 classification based on her 2:05:38 at the 2012 London Marathon. Wakako Tsuchida of Japan is ranked No. 1 in the class, finishing in 1:37:37 at the Boston Marathon, but T53s Amanda McGrory and Shirley Reilly of the United States have fared better this year. McGrory’s best finish this year is 1:36:39 while Reilly won the Boston Marathon with 1:37:36. At the Paralympic Games, the marathon will include both classes.