Beijing 2008, London 2012
Winning bronze at the Beijing Games and silver at the London Games
Watching the Socceroos qualify for the 2006 World Cup
Bridie Kean has proven successful at dealing with unexpected challenges. After her feet were amputated as a two-year-old due to contracting meningococcal, Bridie was inspired to start playing wheelchair basketball after being in the crowd when the Gliders won silver at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.
Bridie first represented Australia at the IWBF qualification tournament in 2007. She considers her debut for the Gliders her proudest moment.
Just one year later, Bridie competed in her first Paralympic Games in Beijing. The Gliders won a bronze medal, beating Japan 53-47. Since Beijing, Bridie proved a valuable asset in Australia’s consecutive triumphs at the Osaka Cups in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. She was also part of the Gliders’ 2010 World Championships team, finishing fourth and the gold medal winning team at the 2011 Asia Oceania Regional Championships. One of her proudest moments came at the London Paralympics when she captained the Gliders to a silver medal after losing to Germany in the gold medal match.
Despite her relative youth, Bridie is a well-travelled young woman. Before her career with the Australian team, she spent a gap year in England in 2005. Bridie also secured a scholarship with the University of Illinois and completed her Bachelor of Science in 2011 while continuing to play wheelchair basketball.
It was in Illinois that she attracted the nickname “Bird” due to the fact Americans struggle to pronounce Bridie. The Gliders star is not the only famous person in her family; her great uncle is James Scullin, the former Prime Minister of Australia.
Bridie returned home from Illinois in 2011 to focus on training and studying her Masters of Public Health at the University of Queensland. But the globetrotter wasn’t in Australia for long, moving to Germany post-London where she played wheelchair basketball for Hamburg and helped the team win the National Titles.