Paralympian Tatyana McFadden helped ensure that US Paralympians win the same amount of prize money as Olympians at the Tokyo Games.
McFadden began her advocacy in high school when she became the namesake of “Tatyana’s Law” in 2013 — it required schools to allow students with disabilities to compete in interscholastic athletics. She continued the fight for equality in the Paralympics, advocating for equal pay.
Previously, US Paralympic athletes won $7,500 for every gold medal, $5,250 for silver, and $3,750 for bronze, The New York Times reported. Meanwhile, Olympians won $37,500 for gold medals, $22,500 for silver, and $15,000 for bronze.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) adjusted the prize money for Paralympic athletes to equal that of Olympians — as much as a 400% increase — shortly after the 2018 Winter Olympics. The committee retroactively paid 2018 Paralympians the new higher amounts, but the 2021 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo mark the first time they were paid equally from the start.
“I’ve been competing at the Paralympics for 15-16 years, and this is the first time that I’m going to get equal pay,” McFadden told CBS8. “I mean, this is my job, right? This is what I do. I’m a professional athlete, and I think it’s such a turning point because I actually feel valued.”