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Paralympic medalist will be U. of I. homecoming parade marshal

Tatyana McFadden crosses the finish line during the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in Chicago on Oct. 7, 2012. | Sun-Times files

CHAMPAIGN — Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden will serve as grand marshal of the University of Illinois’ homecoming parade Friday.

McFadden, who graduated from U. of I. in 2014 with a degree in human development and family studies, was born with spina bifida and lived in a Russian orphanage before being adopted and brought to the United States at 6.

She has dominated wheelchair racing in recent years. She’s won 17 Paralympic medals, including seven golds, since her first appearance at the Games in Athens in 2004 at 15.

In 2013, she became the first athlete to win four major marathons in a single year — in Chicago, London, New York and Boston. She has repeated the feat each year since.