TOKYO — Baltimore's own Tatyana McFadden earned the silver medal in the T54 women’s 800-meter race on Sunday at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
McFadden finished the race in 1:43.16, which was also a season-best for her. “I could have walked away with nothing. To be on this stage with world-class athletes, I am proud of myself,” she said.
This was her 19th Paralympic medal.
McFadden finished just behind her long-time rival, Manuela Schaer, who set a Paralympic record by finishing in 1:42.81.
"Today was a really tough start, I had a little hiccup in the first three strokes and that makes a difference with [Schaer] - you can't have any hiccups. That immediately puts you in second place with her, she is that strong,” McFadden said. “I've been racing against her since I was 15, and we've always been going back and forth between races.”
Her teammate, Susannah Scaroni, finished third in the race at 1:44.43.
McFadden had to overcome a blood clot disorder she was diagnosed with in 2017 to get back in competition shape. Surgery failed three times to stop the blood clots from spreading through her body.
"As an athlete you are so healthy, it scared me so much. Tokyo wasn't even in the future at that point - I couldn't even think about it. All I thought about was just to get back in my chair, get back in my chair,” she said.
At 32 and back in shape, McFadden said she hopes to continue competing for a long time to come.
"My body is amazing. It recovered, it is strong. Most people would have walked away from the sport, but I was really mentally strong, I hung in there. All is well."
McFadden will also be competing in the women’s T54 400-meter race, 1500-meter race, and the women’s marathon.