This Female Bodybuilder Born Without Legs Will Inspire You

October 19th 2015

Laura Donovan

Tatsiana Khvitsko, a 24-year-old competitive bodybuilder and runner, was born without legs and several fingers due to radiation exposure her mother suffered during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the years before her birth.

Khvitsko, who was left at an orphanage as a baby, was ultimately adopted by her biological parents, but during her time in the orphanage, she learned to walk on her knees. A charity looking to help disabled children discovered her at age six and sent her to the U.S. to be fitted with new prosthetics. Seven years ago, she moved to Kansas City permanently and enrolled in college. She also began running and a Florida company donated her a pair of running legs.


A photo posted by Tatsiana (@tanyakhv) on

"The moment I put on my blades I felt like I was flying," she said in a recent interview with Baycroft Media. "I was running so fast someone had to catch me because I didn't know how to stop. I've run ever since, I want to feel that feeling of flying over and over again."


A photo posted by Tatsiana (@tanyakhv) on

Khvitsko, who has more than 6,500 Instagram followers for her dedication to athletics, has since run dozens of races and taken up CrossFit. Though she joked that she wishes she could have full legs to wear heels, she doesn't think she would be as excited about life if she were born with both limbs.

“I don’t know if I had legs if I would be as passionate as I am,” she said. “I’m so strong physically and mentally and emotionally and I think it’s because of my disability. Running made me realize it was okay to be an amputee. And every time I put on my running blades I feel like a badass."


A photo posted by Tatsiana (@tanyakhv) on

That said, she sometimes struggles with the limitations of having missing fingers.

"Sometimes there are times in my gym where I'll do a workout and I feel frustrated because I have to take time to do the exercises," she said. "I have to try to figure out how to do the moves when the able-bodies are doing the workout fine. But I'm exploring my disability and realizing what I can and can't do."

Despite certain complications, she appreciates the positive impact she has on so many people.

"I got so many girls messaging me saying how I inspired them," she said. "I just want to show disabled and able-bodied people that you can do anything. Your body doesn't hold you back and if you're determined enough you will succeed."