madison de rozario on how para sports taught her to like her ‘ideal’ frame

‘i believe with each part of me that game is the perfect, healthiest way to unlearn all the ones things that we’re taught to trust growing up’

madison de rozario admits she “resented” her frame when she turned into developing up. becoming a six-time paralympic medallist – and getting a barbie doll designed in her honour – made her recognise it’s miles best just as it is.

“locating wheelchair racing, for the primary time in my existence i discovered the world that become simply designed for me by people that appear like me,” the australian athlete said.

“this body that i had grown to resent a bit bit as it wasn’t my idea of perfect, what i’ve been instructed it needed to be, become ideal for wheelchair racing. the entirety that i disliked approximately it become abruptly required for this recreation and i learned to love my body thru the whole thing that this recreation took me via.”

tracks and mirrors
de rozario turned into four years old when she shrunk transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder that brought about an infection of her spinal wire and left her paralysed from the waist down.

the new body became now not easy for de rozario to return to phrases with and even as she tried some wheelchair sports activities to get a feeling for it, that too changed into now not an immediate fulfillment.

she dabbled in wheelchair basketball and tennis before settling on wheelchair racing in 2006. her success charge did not improve plenty after the switch, however.

seeing the teen warfare together with her race chair, her mom informed her that she may want to quit the game, however de rozario stubbornly pushed on.

that stubbornness paid off as best years later de rozario made her paralympic debut in beijing. at age 14 she turned into the youngest athlete in the australian delegation.

her journey to china became additionally no longer most effective for the sake of enjoy: she got here away with a silver from the women’s 4x100m t53/54 relay.

at the london 2012 paralympic video games, de rozario finished just off the podium in 4 races. four years later she gained her first man or woman medal, a silver within the girls’s 800m t53, in addition to a silver with the women’s 4x400m t53/54 relay crew.

at tokyo 2020 she became a paralympic champion after triumphing her signature ladies’s 800m t53 race, followed by way of every other victory inside the women’s marathon t54. she additionally picked up a bronze inside the ladies’s 1500m t54.

similarly to her paralympic hardware, de rozario has won more than one medals at the world championships and commonwealth games, grand prix and prestigious marathons.

with the education and races there additionally came a brand new appreciation for her frame.

“it’s not simply accomplishments, no longer just achievements or world titles or something like that, but who it allowed me to become,” de rozario said.

“the biggest effect that game may have on and for human beings with disabilities is mastering to reclaim and to own your bodily self,” she brought. “if you are asking as tons of your body as recreation asks of you, on a paralympic level, an elite degree or on a grassroots participation degree, it doesn’t count, if you are demanding some thing of your body physically, you have to have that love and appreciate for it.”

version for the brand new technology
after falling in love with her body way to sport, being honoured with a personalized barbie doll became the icing on the cake for the australian racer.

in 2020 de rozario was amongst numerous athletes who had dolls designed of their likeness. her doll came whole with a race wheelchair and changed into discovered on worldwide women’s day.

and just as hundreds of children round the world pick up barbie dolls to play with, de rozario hopes that they, like her, may also pick out up a recreation.

“each person who wants to get into any sort of game, start! locate whatever and it’ll progress from there,” she said.

“i, and all of us i realize, we tried so many matters. we have failed at such a lot of things. i assume whilst an elite athlete, you fail so many more instances than you be successful. that’s just how game is going. that’s how it all works. and this is one hundred percent good enough. lean into the ones disasters. attempt anything and everything till you discover some thing you love.”

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