The Oksana Masters story is a story of self-improvement in capital letters. He was born with numerous malformations 31 years ago in the Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi affected by radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. As an inheritance from that, he was only born with one kidney six toes on each foot and although he had five on his hands, he did not have the top of the thumb.

Also, her left leg was 15 centimeters shorter than her right and she had no shinbones. After a series of operations, his legs had to be amputated above the knee. E sas are the visible scars on his body. But he also has scars on his soul. In Survivor a video posted in March on the Players’ Tribune website, Masters opened up about the ongoing physical, emotional, and sexual abuse he suffered in Ukraine.

Now, in the same medium, he has raised his voice again through a heartbreaking letter. When she was born her parents gave her up for adoption and she spent seven and a half years in orphanages. Many people do not want to believe what happens in certain orphanages in Ukraine. But they should believe it. Horrible things happen, he confesses.

The most difficult thing is to say out loud: I have suffered abuse he explains. There are still parts of my story that I can remember as if it were yesterday. Parts of my story that, for better or for worse, will always fit my memory like a glove he adds. And then he goes on to describe what the orphanages in which he lived and suffered were like.

Knives, burning cigarettes, metal chains 

There will always be orphanages. I remember how they had those long corridors, which you could swear were designed to be as scary as possible. I remember it was so cold that seeing your own breath was normal. I remember they were never lit, always so dark. I remember the night. Most of the worst things happened late at night. Sometimes, instead of being graphic, I just need to tell people a list of the things I can’t stand anymore: knives lit cigarettes metal chains. Still, to this day, I can’t get a massage and not be scared. That probably gives you an idea of ​​the situation, he says.

His life changed completely when the American Gay Masters, a speech therapist who lived in Kentucky, came into his life and wanted to give that undernourished and scared girl a chance. Her adoption and move to the United States changed her life.

The fear of the night and sleep new life was paradise

But it was not easy to adapt to it because it carried traumas from the past. It was largely heaven. They took care of me, cared for me, fed me well-raised me well-loved me. But then some adjustments were extremely hard. Not because things weren’t better now, but because they had been so bad before. An example of this is sleep. In the orphanage, sleep was associated with the abuse it’s that simple. It was impossible not to do it. So when I got to my new home and this comfortable bed. It was as if none of that novelty, none of that comfort mattered. I hated the dream. Or rather, I couldn’t stop hating the dream. Oddly enough, at first, the bed was too comfortable for me. He had to sleep on a hard floor. It was almost as if I had to re-process the trauma in a way before learning to let it go, he explains.

Thanks to the efforts of her adoptive mother she not only overcame her traumas but has also become the strong woman she is today and who raises her voice. My mother has taught me to become a person who remembers and forgets. My mother has opened so many doors of life for me so that I could go through them and fall in love with the world. My mother, who is the reason why I am here, he says.

I know I can never make it up to her for everything she has done for me he adds. Over time, she has also learned to stop hating her biological family, who abandoned her in an orphanage after she was born. I’ve been dreaming of the day when I will meet my biological family. In my head, I used to hate them so much. I used to spend so much time wondering Why would someone do this to me? Why abandon me and leave me alone? What did I do wrong? What have I done wrong?’ But now that I’m older. I know it’s a lot more complicated.

I know they didn’t have many resources. I know they were just trying to survive, in their own way. I also know that in the end, I was lucky because what happened to me then is what led me to to the life that I have now. But I still have a lot of questions you know? I’d still like to meet them. I would still like to complete that piece of the puzzle, he confesses. And he can only do that with his biological family.

He also dreams of creating his own family. I think I would be a good mother. I would like to teach my children to be strong and independent, and to fight for their voice she says. Now she raises her again to tell about the abuses she suffered and the hardships in the orphanage so that her testimony serves children and women who are going through a similar situation and that they find, in addition to comfort an illusion that changes their lives. lifetime.”I kept thinking about how important it could be for them to see me, not just intact, but alive and strong. Not as an object of pity but as an example of strength. As a woman who has gained power on the other side of her trauma and that it deserves to be known, not as the sum of its experiences but as the sum of its actions, he says.

Sport changed his lifeThe sport changed her.

He won his first Paralympic medal in London 2012 in rowing, alongside ex-marine double amputee Rob Jones, who then completed 31 marathons in 31 days. Afterward, he participated in cross-country skiing and biathlon in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, from where he brought silver and a bronze, and, in 2016, he went to the Rio as a cyclist.

Being an athlete has changed my life forever, and I will always be grateful. I have won two gold medals and nine world championships in Paralympic events and I feel like I’m just getting started. But I didn’t get into sports to win exactly. I got into them because of what they have helped me understand about myself. Sport has made me see how the body – my body has a power that should never be underestimated she says convinced. A body that has taken her to the podium in various sports and whose successes have earned her the Laureus Prize 2020, the Oscars of sport, for the best athlete with a disability of the year.