Oksana Masters

Oksana Masters, 32, is a multi-sport, six-time Paralympian who began adaptive rowing in 2002 at age 13. Despite having her leg amputated shortly before taking up the sport, she continued rowing competitively, setting a world record in 2010. The next year, she and her teammate placed second in the Adaptive World Championship trials, a segue to an amazing career, which now includes 17 medals earned in four sports in the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. In fact, Oksana’s standout performances at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing, broke U.S. records for career Winter Paralympic medals and for most medals at a single Winter Games.

When the 6-time, 32-year-old Paralympian isn’t winning medals in rowing, sculling, cross-country skiing, cycling or biathlons, Oksana enjoys camping, shopping, taking road trips and watching her favorite TV show, Friends. But the life she now leads as a world champion American Paralympian is a world away from the life she knew as a young child. Oksana was born in Ukraine in 1989, just three years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a devastating event that is thought to be responsible for scores of birth defects among children living nearby — including Oksana. Her early life was fraught with physical and emotional pain. Oksana was abandoned by her birth parents and relegated to Ukrainian orphanages until age 7, when she was adopted by an American speech therapy professor and brought to live in the U.S. She credits her adoptive mother with nursing her to health as a child, but more recently, Oksana credited Texas Children’s, a Team USA National Medical Center, for the expert care she received during a recent surgery.

“The team at Texas Children’s Hospital really got me here and got me ready,” she said. “It feels like coming full circle right now.”