Champaign, Ill. (WCIA) —
“The Paralympics and the Olympics are going to look really different for athletes,” Tatyana McFadden, Paralympian, said.
That’s because this will be the first games in a pandemic. The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games were postponed last year, but they’re still set to go on this summer. After it was postponed last year – athletes are hopeful to compete this summer.
There’s a lot of conversation about the Olympics, but what about the Paralymics. WCIA spoke with several athletes who tell me they’re ready to compete.
Winning medals is nothing new to Tatyana McFadden She’s a seventeen time Paralympic medalist, seven were golds.
“I’ve missed fast racing. I just missed that lifestyle, so I’m very excited to come back to compete again,” McFadden said.
She’s ready to win more. She just got back to the Unversity of Illinois to train for the 2021 Tokyo games.
“Its good to be back at U of I. Good to be back on this team. This track’s beautiful,” McFadden said.
She hasn’t been on it since last year’s games were postponed because of the pandemic.
“I will never take that for granted ever again, being so busy with racing and competitions, and marathons, and the Paralympics, so I’m looking forward to to that. I think the world kind of needs it,” McFadden said.
“I really have just taken everything a day at a time,” Daniel Romanchuk, Paralympian, said.
McFadden’s teammate, Daniel Romanchuk, is also ready to race. He’s won five major races in just over a year. Now, the focus is on Japan.
“Keep everything a day at a time and just try and focus on one thing to improve on that day, and I know everything will add up when things return,” Romanchuk said.
There’s a possibility the games might not return this year. There is a growing call to cancel, again.
“Obviously I don’t hope that it gets canceled,” Kaitlyn Eaton, USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball player, said.
This would be basketball player Kaitlyn Eaton’s first Paralympic games, and she might have to compete without spectators.
“Its not the experience I have been dreaming of, but going and being apart of something so big and with all the other athletes you can’t beat that. Fans or no fans,” Eaton said.
For now, McFadden, Eaton, and Romanchuk are taking it day by day, with their eyes on the gold.
“I think it makes people actually really intrigued and excited to watch the Paralympics and people will start to research and athletes and different sports,” McFadden said.
The 2021 Paralympics are set to happen August 24th – September 5th.
Besides training during the pandemic, McFadden also helped produce a movie called “Rising Phoenix” on Netflix. She hopes it will bring more attention to the Paralympics.