Paralympic swimmer Long to feature in NBC documentary tracing Russian roots

Wednesday, 19 February 2014
By Gary Anderson

February 19 - Paralympic great Jessica Long will be the subject of a new documentary tracing her Russian roots ©AFP/Getty ImagesTwelve-times Paralympic swimming champion Jessica Long is to be the subject of a new documentary broadcast by NBC during its coverage of Sochi 2014, which will follow the athlete as she travels back to Russia to trace her roots.

The 20-minute programme entitled Long Way Home: The Jessica Long Story, will show the 21-year-old travelling back to Russia and meeting her birth parents and biological brothers and sisters for the first time since she was adopted by her American parents when she was just 13 months old.

Originally named Tatiana Olegovna Kirillova, Long spent the first year of her life in an orphanage in the city of Irkutsk before growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, around 7,000 miles away, following her adoption.

A production team from NBC Olympics accompanied Long on a three-day journey to reach the adoption centre in Irkutsk and the 18-hour train ride to Bratsk in Siberia, where her biological family now live.

A double leg amputation at the age of 18 months has not stopped Long from going on to become a 12-times Paralympic champion ©AFP/Getty ImagesA double leg amputation at the age of 18 months has not stopped Long from going on to become a 12-times Paralympic champion ©AFP/Getty Images


Born with fibular hemimelia, the lower part of Long's legs were amputated when she was 18 months old.

She learned to walk on prosthesis and has gone on to become a 17-times Paralympic medallist.

At Athens 2004 she claimed gold in the S8 100 metres and 400m freestyle as well as 4x100m freestyle.

She followed that up with four golds at Beijing 2008 in 100m and 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley.

At London 2012 she bettered that medal haul with Paralympic titles in 100m and 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m breaststroke and the 200m individual medley.

Multiple world champion Long also holds 13 world records and is a two-time US Paralympic Sports Woman of the Year.

NBC has released two trailers of the upcoming documentary which can be viewed below.





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