Minda Dentler

Athlete and activist

Minda Dentler was born in India, where she contracted polio, which paralysed her legs. Her birth mother was unable to look after her and left her in the care of an orphanage. She was adopted by an American family, and surgery enabled her to walk with leg braces and crutches. She gained a management information systems degree from the University of Washington and an MBA in finance and marketing from Baruch College – The City University of New York, and works for a major financial services company.

Minda discovered handcycling – cycling powered by the arms rather than the legs – at the age of 28, then progressed to triathlon. She won two USA National Triathlon titles, in 2009 and 2011 and completed her first Ironman Distance Triathlon in 2012. In 2013, at her second attempt, she became the first woman handcyclist to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii – a feat that involved swimming 2.4 miles, handcycling 112 miles and pushing a racing wheelchair 26.2 miles. Minda now speaks regularly about her experiences, and actively supports the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio.