The U.S. figure skating team poses with a photo of Tatyana McFadden’s new carbon racing frame at an airport.
Tatyana McFadden was getting anxious. His racing seat was broken and a replacement was stranded in Japan for six months due to pandemic restrictions on international shipping.
Finally, his chair arrived via FigEx.
It’s the US Figure Skating Express.
The US team returned from the World Team Trophy to Japan last week with silver medals and a cardboard box containing McFadden’s new carbon racing frame.
“We all felt like we were part of repatriating precious cargo,” said team captain Jason Brown.
They posed for a photo with the box at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, beaming behind their masks.
“I was like, ‘Please take a picture of everyone,’” said McFadden, “because I’m so grateful for them, that they took this and they’re going to bring it back. in the United States – because I ‘I have no more options and I need this wheelchair.
McFadden posted the photo on Instagram, writing, “When we say we’re a team, we really are a team.” She thanked the US figure skating team and each of the athletes, adding, “International sailing has been difficult during this time, but you all made it.”
Brown said that when their flight arrived in San Francisco and they went to baggage claim, “What we were all waiting for was this box. “OK, will it come out?”
He did, and then team leader Lorin Ferrell made sure he was dispatched to McFadden, Florida, where she is training for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which begin in August.
It was a late birthday present for McFadden, who turned 32 on April 21.
The winner of 17 Paralympic medals – including seven gold – averages about 115 miles per week in training, or like her mother, Deborah said: “The distance she covers is the equivalent of covering the United States. times at least in a year. And that’s just training; that doesn’t count his competitions.
Wear puts a lot of pressure on the frame and weakens it in the middle. “That’s why you should really get a new frame within eight months to a year,” McFadden said. “I have been late for a long time. You want to have the perfect chair for the Games. “
McFadden, who runs track distances from 100 meters to 5,000 meters in the T54 category and also competes in road marathons, is expected to take a new chair in February 2020 after competing in one of the marathon majors in Japan. Then covid hit and the race was called off.
As the schedule moved from 2020 to 2021, McFadden had to make emergency repairs with epoxy glue. It was also forced to switch to an aluminum frame, which is not as light as the carbon frame.
Deborah worked the phones, trying all angles. Even though the whole package only weighed about 15 pounds, it was still more than the shipping restrictions allowed.
“I said to the wheelchair company, ‘Can you break it down into little tiny pieces?’ She said. “Which, of course, they can’t.”
“There is no one to blame,” said his daughter, who won six medals in Rio, including four gold. “I am running out of options. We are four months away from the Games. We just went to plan B. ”
The US figure skating team to the rescue.
McFadden contacted Sherrice Fox, the director of US Paralympic athletics, and said, “I need help. What can we do? Is there someone passing – like someone?
The U.S. diving team was scheduled to compete in a World Cup in Tokyo from April 18, but that has been postponed.
Another dead end.
Next, Fox told McFadden that the US figure skating team was not just heading to Japan, but was already on the plane.
However, with tight quarantines and sporting events staged in a bubble, McFadden feared there were problems.
US Figure Skating appealed to the Japanese Figure Skating Association. After the box containing the frame was shipped from the manufacturer to Osaka, it was allowed into the Athletes’ Hotel. The team transported him to the airport and, as an added bonus, Deborah said the excess baggage charge of $ 200 was the lowest amount she had ever paid to get the chair in the United States. .