McFadden developed strong arms out of necessity. Born with an underdeveloped spinal cord that left her paralyzed below the waist, she spent the first six years of her life in a Russian orphanage. The facility didn’t have a wheelchair, so McFadden depended on her arms to get around. An American woman adopted her in 1994, and nine years later McFadden, then 15, became the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic track and field team in Athens. She won a silver medal in the 100m and a bronze in the 200m, and in Beijing she picked up four more medals. Now 23 years old, she will contest five wheelchair-racing events in London: the 100m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, and marathon.
(PHOTOS: The 2008 Paralympics)
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