Inspirational Wednesday: Paralympian Francisca Mardones gets her own Barbie

American toy firm Mattel aims to diversify the product line of Barbies. Chilean Paralympian, who is wheelchair-bound, has become one of the latest subjects of the famous doll. 

Mardones participated in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. She was the standard-bearer of the Chilean team. As a representative of Chile, she competed in wheelchair tennis and, latterly, shotputting, javelin, and discus throwing. She set a 2019 world record for shotputting.

Francisca wanted to be an Olympic athlete since she was a child. In 1999 she was left with spinal damage. She worked at the Puerto Rico island when a hurricane struck it. She was injured in a landslide. 

Mardones hoped that her Barbie emphasizes to children that disability should not stand in the way of their goals. She said, “It’s a recognition of all the years of sacrifice I made for sports and the results of that. At the end of the day, what Mattel wants to highlight is not my disability, but my sporting achievements, and that means a lot.”

According to Francisca, the toy firm was very thorough about detail. They asked her for pieces of her wardrobe and even permission from her sponsors to recreate their logos. Barbie is a part of Mattel’s ‘Sheroes’ product line, launched in 2015 to recognize exemplary female figures.  


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