Track and Field
“My influence is to inspire others and to make them believe that if I can do it, they can do it too.”
Sprinter. Runner. Paralympian. Student. Future Sportscaster. Role Model.
Born without a right foot, Marissa Papaconstantinou began her para-athletic career soon after being fitted with her first running blade at age 11. Her family’s support, encouragement and athleticism would prove essential to Toronto native’s success. While in elementary school, her passion and interest in track and field would grow. She attended high school running meets with her father, a high school principal, on a regular basis.
“My interest in running grew when my dad took me to watch a 16-year-old student race a 100-meter dash. As I watched him run fast, I pictured myself doing that one day.”
At age 15, she made an impressive international debut finishing seventh in the 200m and eighth in the 100m at the 2015 IPC World Championships. The following year, she would make her Paralympic Games debut in Rio De Janeiro at the age of 16. Marissa would continue to progress over the next year. Good qualifying races landed her a spot in the Women’s 200m Finals in London. Only 100 meters from victory, Marissa suffered a season-ending hamstring injury which ultimately sidelined her for 5 months, forcing her to miss the Nationals and the Parapan American Games.
“There are moments where it feels like this is never going to end but I was lucky to have a great team around me that was able to bring me back to full health.”
Fully recovered from her injury, Marissa has continued to improve her personal best times. At a competition in Switzerland, Marissa took a half-second off her 100m PB and became the 100m and 200m Canadian record holder in her class. Today, Marissa is training for the next big event on the international stage with high hopes of earning a medal.
“My prosthetics blade (Cheetah Xtreme) enables me to do everything that any other person can in everyday life. That piece of equipment, although it doesn’t define who I am, makes me who I am, allowing me to compete at the highest level, break barriers, and to strive for better and faster every day.”
- 2020 Tokyo Bronze medal 100m T64
Below the knee