New York City, NY (October 20, 2015) – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF)—the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports— celebrated the biggest night in female sports at its 36th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Eleven-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden (Track & Field, Cross-Country Skiing) was honored with the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. McFadden has defied obstacles since she was a young girl to become one of the most dominant athletes in Paralympic Track & Field and Cross-Country Skiing, while also advocating for equal access for students with disabilities. Tatyana and her mother helped pass Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act (2005) that mandates that schools provide competitive opportunities for students with disabilities in interscholastic athletic programs.
At just 15, Tatyana claimed a silver (100m) and bronze medal (200m) at the 2004 Paralympic Games. At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, at just 19 years old, McFadden posted stunning performances that earned her four more Paralympic medals. In London, in 2012, she led the competition in the 400m, 800m and 1500m events, winning three gold medals and four overall. Until 2009, McFadden specialized in shorter distance track sprints. She entered the Chicago Marathon in 2009 as a lark and triumphed at the finish line—the first of a series of marathon victories. She has since twice swept the Grand Slam of wheelchair marathon racing, winning titles in Boston, London, Chicago and New York in a single season. In total, McFadden is a 14-time major marathon winner and an 11-time Paralympic medalist in both track and field and cross-country skiing. She is an ESPY Award finalist and the 2015 Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
The Wilma Rudolph Courage Award is presented to a female athlete who exhibits extraordinary courage in her athletic performance, demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity, makes significant contributions to sports and serves as an inspiration and role model for others. This award was first given in 1996 to Jackie Joyner-Kersee.