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Bridie Kean (born 27 February 1987) is an Australian wheelchair basketball player and canoeist. She won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, and a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. In 2016, she became a va'a world champion.

Bridie Kean
310511 - Bridie Kean - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg
2012 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of Kean
Personal information
Nationality Australia
Born (1987-02-27) 27 February 1987 (age 32)
Parkdale, Victoria, Australia
SportWheelchair basketball
Disability class4.0
Event(s)Women's team
College teamUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
ClubMinecraft Comets

Personal lifeEdit

Kean was born 27 February 1987.[1][2][3] When she was two, her feet were amputated due to meningococcal septicaemia.[1] She is nicknamed Bird because her friend Kate Dunstan in high school thought it was funny that her name sounded like Bird. Then, when she moved to the United States, her friends struggled to pronounce her first name correctly – it rhymes with "tidy" – when she was living there.[1] And so, the nickname stuck. Her hometown is Parkdale, Victoria. An award in Kean's honour, acknowledging qualities of compassion and bravery, is each year presented to a student at Kilbreda College, where she went to school.[4] As of 2012, she lives in Alexandra Headland, Queensland.[3]

Kean did a gap year in England in 2005.[5] She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2010,[2] and in graduated with a Master of Public Health from the University of Queensland.[5] In 2015, she was working on her PhD in Health Promotion at the University of the Sunshine Coast.[6] She became the manager of its Sports Elite and Education Dual (SEED) program, which enabled elite athletes with a disability to combine study with high performance training and competition, in 2016.[7]

Wheelchair basketballEdit

When she was 15, Kean was encouraged to take up wheelchair basketball by Liesl Tesch. She was invited to a training camp,[6] and started playing the sport on the state and national level in 2003.[5] In 2011/2012, the Australian Sports Commission gave her a A$17,000 grant as part of their Direct Athlete Support (DAS) program.[8] A 4 point player,[2][3][9] she plays as a forward.[10]


Kean had a wheelchair basketball scholarship with the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign that ended in 2010.[5][11]


Kean made her Women's National Wheelchair Basketball League (WNWBL) debut in 2007.[5] In 2012, she played club basketball for the Brisbane-based Minecraft Comets.[2][10] That season, she was the team's captain.[5][12] In September 2012, she played for Hamburger SV, which returned to Germany's top league after a two-season absence.[13][14][15] Hamburger SV won the national championship for the eighth time in 2013.[16] In 2014 she returned to Australia, where she spearheaded the Minecraft Comets to their first ever national title win,[6] which was clinched by a crucial three point field goal by Kean in the final stages.[17]

National teamEdit

Kean at a game in Sydney in 2012

She made her national team debut in 2007 when she competed in the IWBF Qualification tournament.[5] She was selected to represent Australia at the 2009 Four Nations tournament in Canada, one of six players who played for the Dandenong Rangers in the WNWBL.[18] In July 2010, she played in a three-game test series against Germany.[19] In 2010, she was a member of the team that played in the Osaka Cup.[20] She represented Australia at the 2010 World Championships where her team finished fourth.[3]


Kean at the 2012 London Paralympics
Kean at the 2012 London Paralympics

She was part of the bronze medal-winning Australia women's national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders,[21] at the 2008 Summer Paralympics.[3][22] Her team defeated Canada 53-47 in earning their medal. She said of her team's 2008 performance, "We worked together as a team really well and our medal is a credit to a lot of hard work and dedication."[5]

In October 2011, she was named as part of the senior national squad that would compete at the Paralympic qualifying tournament for the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.[23] She was the captain of the Gliders at the 2012 Summer Paralympics.[24] In the gold medal game against Germany, she played 13:02 minutes.[25] Her team lost 44-58, but earned a silver medal. She scored 1 point and had four rebounds in the game.[25]


The Gliders failed to qualify for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Kean took up canoeing, coached by Gayle Mayes, who represented Australia at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. With her No Limits teammates from Mooloolaba, Queensland, she won gold in the Para Mixed V12 500m and the Para Mixed V6 1000m finals in at the IVF Va'a World Elite and Club Sprints Championships at Lake Kawana on the Sunshine Coast.[26]


  1. ^ a b c "Bridie Kean". Australian Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Bridie Kean". Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Wheelchair Basketball". Media Guide, London 2012 Paralympic Games. Homebush Bay, New South Wales: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2012. pp. 92–99 [98].
  4. ^ "Virtual Honourboard - Whole School Awards". Kilbreda College. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bridie Kean" (PDF). Queensland: Sporting Wheelies. 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Bridie one of world's best after late start to her sport". Sunshine Coast Daily. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  7. ^ "USC to be first to offer para-athletes option to study and train". Sunshine Coast Daily. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Grant Funding Report". Bruce, Australian Capital Territory: Australian Sports Commission. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  9. ^ "2010 WC Team". Basketball Australia. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Women's Wheelchair Basketball: Australia". Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  11. ^ Basketball Australia (20 May 2010). "Shelley farewells stellar college career".
  12. ^ "MineCraft Comets". Sporting Wheelies. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Hamburger Sport-Verein e. V.: Spielkader 2012/2013" (in German). Rollstuhlbasketball Bundesliga. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  14. ^ "HSV-Rollstuhlbasketball" (in German). Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  15. ^ Sievers, Bodo. "Ausführliche Statistiken für HSV Hamburg (1. Bundesliga)" (in German). DRS FB Rollstuhlbasketball. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  16. ^ "Hamburger SV ist Deutscher Damenmeister 2013" (in German). DRS Fachbereich Rollstuhlbasketball. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  17. ^ "MineCraft Comets win historic WNWBL title in a thriller". Sporting Wheelies. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  18. ^ McLeod, Phil (28 June 2009). "Hoop dreams rolling along". The Journal. Dandenong, Australia: Fairfax Community Newspapers. 1553261. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  19. ^ Shevelove, Marty (13 September 2012). "Heading to world meet". Dandenong Leader. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  20. ^ Nageshwar, Pranesh (1 February 2010). "Back-to-back titles the goal for Hills Hornets". Hills Shire Times. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  21. ^ McGarry, Andrew (4 September 2008). "Event guide: Wheelchair basketball". ABC. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  22. ^ "Basketball Chronology". Basketball Australia. 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  23. ^ "Games wheelchair Basketball Squads Named". Nine MSN. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  24. ^ "Australia wheelchair basketball squad". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  25. ^ a b "Gold Medal Game". London: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 7 September 2012. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  26. ^ Nolan, Alex (15 May 2016). "Paralympic medallist proves there's no limits". Sunshine Coast Daily. Retrieved 17 May 2016.

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