The hard parts

Oksana Masters


In stock

The remarkable story of how Oksana Masters triumphed over extraordinary challenges to become a Paralympic champion and an inspiration to so many

ISBN: 9781398519923 Category:


The remarkable and inspirational story of Oksana Masters, who was born with radiation-induced birth defects and suffered appalling abuse as an orphan, before being adopted and moving to the US, where she went on to triumph over her challenges to win seventeen Paralympic medals in four different sports.

Oksana Masters was born in the shadow of Chernobyl, with one kidney, a partial stomach, six toes on each foot, webbed fingers, no right bicep and no thumbs. Her left leg was six inches shorter than her right, and she was missing both tibias. Relinquished to the orphanage system by birth parents daunted by the staggering cost of their child’s medical care, Oksana encountered numerous abuses, some horrifying. Salvation came at the age of seven when Gay Masters, an unmarried American professor who saw a photo of the little girl and became haunted by her eyes, waged a two-year war against stubborn adoption authorities to rescue Oksana from her circumstances.

In America, Oksana endured years of operations that included a double leg amputation. Still, how could she hope to fit in when there were so many things making her different? As it turned out, she would do much more than fit in. Determined to prove herself and fuelled by a drive to succeed that still smouldered from childhood, Oksana triumphed in not just one sport but four – winning against the world’s best in rowing, biathlon, cross-country skiing and road cycling competitions. 

This is Oksana’s astonishing story of journeying through a series of dark tunnels – and how, with her mother’s love, she finally found her way into the light. Her message to anyone who doesn’t fit in: you can find a place where you excel and where you have worth.

‘Gripping, powerful and inspiring’ – TONY HAWK

‘Heart-wrenching and extraordinary’ – ARIANA NEUMANN

‘Riveting’ – DONALD MCRAE

‘It’s a story of horror and heroism, of hate and love, of piercing pain and immense, euphoric joy – IRISH INDEPENDENT

‘The book is by turns difficult to read and to put down; “triumph over adversity’ barely covers it” – TELEGRAPH

Additional information

Weight 0.52 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.3 × 3 cm










796.087 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K

Join our Mailing List

Sign up to the Jaffé & Neale newsletters to receive updates on forthcoming titles we’re excited about, book club information and book signing events at the store.