Disability can be comprised of a physical or mental condition that prevents a person from leading a fully normal life, or even from attaining greatness. Yet, there are many people across the world who are able to look past their disability to thrive and achieve the milestones they always dreamed of!
Oksana Masters is one such individual who was constantly put down but managed to rise back up to become a Paralympic athlete and will be competing in two sports in PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics.
Born in Ukraine,1989, Oksana had a really tough time since birth. She had several defects that made her birth parents put her up for adoption. Besides, Oksana believes the reason for her defects would be because of the nuclear accident of Chernobyl in 1986, or just being surrounded by nuclear power plants her whole life.
Until the age of seven, she was in and out of three orphanages, besides she was also let down several times by false hopes of adoption. However, she finally met her future mother but unluckily she wasn’t able to adopt her immediately because of the strict out of country adoption rule.
Finally, in 1997, the paperwork went through and Oksana was finally allowed to be adopted by Gay, and they returned to the U.S.
“I felt just like Annie when she walked into Daddy Warbucks’ house. Everything was so exciting! I had never seen so many toys, and didn’t even know what to do with them,” Oksana told Cosmopolitan Magazine.
During the initial days, it was hard for Oksana to communicate with her mother as she didn’t know English but she finally managed to learn.
By the time she was 13, Oksana had to have both her legs amputated and had to use prosthetics.
She then began rowing at an adaptive rowing club, that’s where she fell in love with the sports and worked hard to excel in the sport! It took Oksana and her coach years of training to bring home the bronze medal from the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
“I remember looking up at the stadium and seeing my mom smiling down at me. She was the reason I was there. I ran up to her, gave her the biggest hug as she held back tears. ‘I told you,’ she said. ‘I told you that you do could do it. You did it.'” She told Cosmopolitan.
But soon after a year, she began to feel a pain in her back, which ended up being a severe lower back injury that ended her career in rowing. However, her dream to win big still ignited within her and she soon began training for cross-country skiing. Although she feared the sport in the beginning but with the help of her coach she fell in love with the sport.
“I know I’ve always had the option to feel sorry for myself, but a theme of my life has definitely been just pushing through the bullshit. I really wish people did that more,” she told Cosmopolitan.
Oksana’s hard work and determination help her qualify for 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games, in cross-country skiing, and a biathlon. She has had many ups and downs but yet she kept her cool and followed her passion. Today she is a Paralympic medal winner and is just 28!