‘I was lucky to make it out the orphanage’: Oksana Masters’ extraordinary journey

'I was lucky to make it out the orphanage': Oksana Masters' extraordinary journey

Given up for adoption in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, the Ukrainian-born American has gone on to win medals at the summer and winter Paralympics

The home gym is built out, Netflix and Hulu have been trawled to their depths, and Paralympic champion Oksana Masters is nostalgic for Taco Tuesdays at restaurants near her seasonal base in Illinois. Most of all, she is missing the rush of competition, the buzz at the core of her identity since she first sat in a rowing boat as a teenager.

Her story began in Ukraine in 1989. In a likely legacy of the radiation spewed by the Chernobyl disaster three years earlier, she was born with one kidney, a partial stomach, six toes on each foot and webbed fingers on each thumbless hand. Her left leg was six inches shorter than her right and shinbones were absent in both.

Related: Mose Masoe: ‘When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t feel my legs’

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