Being born without a right foot has never got in the way of Marissa Papaconstantinou pursuing anything she wanted to achieve in life. Originally a soccer and basketball player, Marissa fell in love with sprinting after being fitted for her first running prosthetic (blade) at the age of 12, by the specialists at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital whom she now serves as an ambassador for. Marissa joined a local track club in Scarborough, the city she calls home, and was a Canadian record holder a year later.
Marissa competed in her first Para World Championships at just 16 years of age, qualifying for the finals in both the 100m and 200m. At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Marissa finished 9th in the 100m but was disqualified during the 200m finals for stepping outside of her lane as she rounded the bend. Seeking redemption at the 2017 World Championships, Marissa placed 6th in the 100m. Then, while sprinting to the finish line in podium position in the 200m, Marissa tore her hamstring. Despite agonizing pain and heartbreak, she got up and finished the race in dramatic fashion, with the support of 40,000 cheering fans.
In her second appearance at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Marissa broke her own Canadian record in the T64 200m before going on to win a bronze medal in the T64 100m event, also in Canadian record time.
Marissa is a trailblazing para athlete, becoming the first female para athlete to be signed by Nike Canada, and has worked with other blue chip brands including Secret deodorant, Toyota, Google and Petro Canada. Marissa is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Sport Media program and aspires to become a sports broadcaster when she retires from track. She is also a proud dog mom to Myles, a cockapoo. Marissa is an experienced and sought after public speaker who inspiring audiences with her messages about overcoming adversity and pursuing excellence.
Petro Canada Ad featuring Marissa Papaconstantinou