Paralympian Hannah McFadden climbs her way to the top

Mia Lucas

By Mia Lucas, Linganore High School

In this podcast, Hannah McFadden will speak about her career, the importance of fun in sports, her future, and the best part about being an athlete.

McFadden’s life has figuratively (and literally) been a climb. McFadden is an above-the-knee amputee due to a congenital disorder. Originally adopted from Durrës, Albania, she now lives in Clarksville, Maryland. McFadden has been an athlete for as long as she can remember.

Hannah McFadden competes in the 2021 Paraclimbing World Cup. A shock to all, she won. Hannah picked up the sport in 2021, so winning the World Cup was a huge accomplishment (Courtesy of Hannah McFadden)

In high school, McFadden participated on her track and field team. McFadden advanced quickly in her sport–so much so that at the age of 16 she made the Paralympic team. She competed at the London 2012 Paralympics and was the youngest person on the roster. She began to make her way to the podiums of World Championships.

Fast forward about four years, Tokyo 2020 was on the horizon. When deciding if she would try out for the Paralympic team or not, she realized that she had fallen out of love with track. After much deliberation, McFadden decided to step away from the sport.

Soon enough, McFadden found herself wanting to stay active and have something to focus on. Her friend suggested that she try rock climbing, and she picked it up in an instant. McFadden shortly ended up at the 2021 Paraclimbing World Cup in Los Angeles, California.

A shock to herself and many others, McFadden won.

“There’s a lot of people who were kind of skeptical of what I was doing…I think for me to do well in another sport was kind of a little bit of a comeback,” said McFadden. “It really was encouraging to me to say, ‘Okay you know what? You are on the right path, keep doing rock climbing’,”

Music from WeVideo, photos courtesy of the McFadden Family and Getty Images.

This story was originally published on The Lance on December 20, 2021.