Full Frame Essay: Minda Dentler

Full Frame

Minda Dentler

Taking on the seemingly impossible is not a new experience for Minda Dentler. But in 2013, she took “beating the odds” to a new level by becoming the first female athlete to complete the Ironman World Championships in her division in Kona, Hawaii.


It is a feat in itself for any athlete to complete this gruesome course, let alone an athlete who is also a survivor of polio. Minda contracted polio as an infant in India. She survived, but the disease left her with permanent paralysis in both legs.

Minda’s birth mother was unable to care for her after she became ill. An American family adopted Minda as a toddler and brought her to the United States where she underwent dozens of medical procedures. With the care and support of her family, Minda was eventually able to walk with leg braces. But she never envisioned herself as an athlete.

“ I represent what is possible” Exclusive Interview with Minda Dentler

“ I represent what is possible” Exclusive Interview with Minda Dentler

Taking on the seemingly impossible is not a new experience for Minda Dentler. But in 2013, she took “beating the odds” to a new level by becoming the first female athlete to complete the Ironman World Championships in her division in Kona, Hawaii.
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“I didn’t make the connection that I could be that person in that wheel chair in that race that I grew up watching when I was a kid,” Minda said.

It wasn’t until moving to New York City and learning to ride a loaned hand-cycle that Minda discovered she had a passion for marathons and triathlons. She competed in her first triathlon just months after learning how to swim. “I think being a person with polio, having this disability, by having the success that I have had so far that I represent what is possible,” Minda told Full Frame. “I think with hard work and dedication and a great team of people around me, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things. And I want people to know that they can do the same.”

Minda Dentler