Paralympian returns to Louisville, shares courageous story

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by Rachel Platt

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 26 at 7:01 PM

(WHAS11) -- Don’t call Oksana Masters an inspiration, she prefers to be called a motivator. She is back in Louisville after winning the bronze medal in the paralympics with her partner Rob in rowing.
 
But this is one competitive woman, saying the gold should have been theirs.
 
Who knew a little girl from an orphanage in Ukraine would find herself on a world stage. The same little girl who suffered birth defects because of radiation and would have both legs amputated, the little girl who would suffer abuse at the orphanage.
 
At the orphanage she did what she had to do to eat and not get in trouble.
 
Some people might have given up under the circumstances, but not Oksana. She says don't feel sorry for her, she wouldn’t trade her toughness, it helped get her that bronze medal.
 
Gay Masters fell in love with that face and spirit fought red tape when Ukraine stopped adoptions. She traveled there to get her and made the adoption official in New York.
 
A few years later the speech therapist and her teenage daughter would move to Louisville, Kentucky.

Gay Masters was not completely on board when ESPN magazine wanted to feature Oksana in its body edition, nude. The photos celebrated athletes and the bodies they worked so hard to achieve, a body that Oksana had never come to terms with.
 
It's a lesson for all girls and women about beauty, that it comes in all shapes and sizes. Oksana has had a rebirth about her own beauty and strength.
 


 

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