Disabled rower Oksana Masters bares all for ESPN's Body Issue

Updated: 2012-07-13
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Oksana Masters
Sports star: Paralympic rower Oksana Masters, 23, is pictured in ESPN's Body Issue without her prosthetic legs  
 
Oksana Masters
Impressive: Ms Masters, pictured, is competing in the London Paralympic Games, starting in August   
 
Oksana Masters
Winner: Oksana Masters, pictured centre, with team mate Robert Jones, pictured left, after winning the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Serbia   
 
Disabled rower Oksana Masters has bared all for ESPN's 2012 Body Issue ahead of this year's Paralympic Games in London.

The 23-year-old athlete, whose legs were amputated as a child, shows off her toned physique, and tattoos, in the magazine's glossy pages, sitting nude on a jetty with her oars beside her.

The spectacular image accompanies photographs of world-class athletes including New York Knicks basketball player Tyson Chandler and Slovakian tennis star Daniela Hantuchova.

In the annual issue, where famous sports stars strip off and talk about their beautiful bodies, the Ukraine-born athlete reveals she can go days without eating, having grown up in an orphanage where food was scarce.

'Growing up in a very poor orphanage in Ukraine, there wasn't much food,' she said.

'I can go days without eating if I don't think about food. Your mind, to protect itself, learns not to pay attention to that hunger feeling.

'That's why for me, eating is one of the hardest things.'

The rower, who was adopted at age seven and later moved to Louisville, Kentucky, told KLTV that her disability was caused by exposure to a nuclear power plant near her village.

'I was born with legs, but they were so deformed,' she said.

'In my village, they actually had frequent leaks, the radiation would just leak out.'

After suffering searing pain, both legs were amputated.

She was encouraged to try adaptive rowing in the eight grade by her mother and soon fell in love with the water.

Ms Masters said training for the Paralympic games, which run from August 29 until September 9, was like a full time job.

'We are on the water six out of seven days a week,' she said.

Her partner, Rob Jones, lost his legs after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2010.

Their rowing mixed doubles team beat Brazil to win the World Cup in Serbia qualifying for the Paralympics.

The sports star said she couldn't wait to take her boat from the mighty Ohio to Dorney Lake in England, where the rowing events for the 2012 summer games will be held.

'I don't think it really hit me and I don't think it has still hit me,' Ms Masters told KLTV.

'It's London, that it's the games and it's the big goal I've been training for, for six years.

'I'm so excited and I get goose bumps thinking about it. Obviously, I smile like a big cheesy kid.'

SOURCE: Daily Mail
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