Paralympic athlete reflects on challenges in new book 'The Hard Parts'

Oksana Masters, a 17-time paralympic medalist, talks about her new memoir and overcoming extreme challenges.
4:10 | 03/23/23

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Transcript for Paralympic athlete reflects on challenges in new book 'The Hard Parts'
- Now to a story of incredible resilience after overcoming radiation-related birth defects from the Chernobyl disaster and surviving an abusive orphanage in Ukraine, Oksana Masters has triumphed in the sports arena as the most decorated winter Paralympic athlete of all time. - An amazing story, and she's opening up about those remarkable experiences in her new book, "The Hard Parts, A Memoir of Courage and Triumph." Stephanie Ramos and I got a chance to sit down with Oksana on how life's challenges have driven her forward as an athlete. Take a look. You talk about this in, you know, your book how you experienced early on in life the number of obstacles and adversity from the orphanage to birth defects. What was it like to revisit those subjects in your memoir? - Oh, my gosh. It was-- I did not realize and was not, I think, fully ready for the impact it was going to take to relive those memories. But one of the biggest things I never really realized was my sport journey paralleled so similarly to my journey from being adopted from Ukraine and going from orphanages to learning to love myself, my amputations, all the challenges of that. And a lot of you don't realize I didn't just try the first sport and was successful in it. And I didn't realize when you're writing-- when I was writing my journey, it kind of was amazing too, kind of, see that full circle and how it paralleled, and I think where I came from helped me be successful. - Yeah, but how do you go from that to the most decorated of all time? [LAUGHTER] - You nailed it. - Yes. - You went above and beyond. - Because I have-- I'm like that weirdo that sets the bar unrealistically high because you never know, like, what if it actually happens? - So you write in the book, for my mom whose love saved me. Thank you for sacrificing it all to give me the world and for opening every door for me. You are my world. I'm going to cry. - I know. - I'm going to cry. - I know. I know. - You are my world and the beat of my heart. I love you, your resilient Rascal. All right. You're honoring your mom. Tell us about her. - I have to honor my mom because I wouldn't be here with you guys and having-- there wouldn't be no story to tell, and I wouldn't be able to share it if it wasn't for her. And resilient rascal, and I was a rascal because I had to apologize for, I think, her hair color changed from before we left Ukraine because I was a handful for sure. She adopted me, a single parent. This was a two-year-long process that she fought for me, and during that time, so many people were telling her to just give up. You can go and adopt a baby, and we don't know when the orphanage is going to open up again, and she never gave up on me. - What are you hoping people will walk away from after reading your book? - I really hope people, when they close that end of the book, and they just feel 10 feet taller and empowered to see the power of their own hard parts, whether from the past, the current, or something they're worried about in the future. And we can-- that's what makes us resilient is overcoming those in the moment of those hard parts, and we're all capable of doing that, so. - Yeah, and we have to ask, with everything Ukraine has been through-- - It is so good. - --and you left when you were 7 and 1/2. You went-- have you been back since then, since you came to the US? - Yes. Not to where I was born, but in 2015, I had the chance to go back, and during the first invasion of everything that happened, a lot of the military men were coming back injured. And so I had the opportunity to show my legs and my prosthetics and the technology we have here and how society in Ukraine can be accessible and should be accessible for all. And my mom has always supported my Ukrainian identity and said it's my Ukrainian heart that is making me resilient and a fighter. And I think as the whole world is seeing that is just Ukrainians are super tough, and I'm really proud to be able to represent America and Ukraine. - We're so proud of you. You're inspiring so many, including myself. - It's in your blood. - Yeah, awesome. - Absolutely, in awe of you. Oksana, thank you so much for being here. Her book, "The Hard Parts," is out everywhere books are sold. - Yeah, she really is the true definition that nothing is impossible. - And I love the title of her book, "The Hard Parts." - "The Hard Parts." - Because we don't always see the hard parts. - And we don't always like to talk about them either, you know?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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