It wasn't lack of determination or ability that resulted in her ninth-place finish. According to the London Telegraph it was two punctures that derailed McFadden's hopes of a high finish in the T54 marathon.
McFadden, who had already won three gold and a bronze, was leading a tight pack of nine wheelchair racers at the 5k mark and a tightly bunched group of eight at the 10k mark, when the air literally went out of her plans.
At the 15k, McFadden was in 10th place and fluxuated between ninth and 10th the rest of the race. She finished ninth in 1:58.47.
American Shirley Reilly won the gold medal 1:46.33 and was followed by Great Britain's Shelly Woods (1:46.34) and Switzerland's Sandra Graf (1:46.35).
A mere 2 seconds separated the top four finishers in the race.
McFadden was attempting to do something no other paralympian had ever attempted — to medal in the 100, 400, 800, 1,500 and marathon. She came close.