Quick facts

Birthdate

September 23, 1984

Birthplace

Ottawa

Residence

Ottawa

Sport

Para Canoe

Classification

VL2

Experience

Tokyo 2020

Since the last Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Brianna Hennessy has been consistently on the podium at major international competitions.

In 2024 at the Para canoe world championships, Hennessy won the silver medal for the third straight year in the women’s VL2 200-metre. She earned quota spots for Canada at the 2023 worlds in the VL2 and KL1 earning bronze in the latter and repeating her performances from the 2022 worlds.

Hennessy competed in two events in her Paralympic Games debut in 2021 placing fifth in the VL2 and eighth in the KL1. She earned a berth for her first Paralympic Games with a fourth-place finish in the women’s VL2 200-m at a World Cup event in Hungary held in May 2021. Her qualification for Tokyo came less than two years after she took up the sport of Para canoe.

Two years after her injury in 2014, Hennessy was initially introduced to wheelchair rugby by the Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre. She grew up in a sports family and Hennessy herself played AA hockey, provincial-level rugby and was an amateur boxing champ in Ontario before her accident at age 30.

Playing against mostly men in wheelchair rugby, Hennessy made the Ontario provincial team. She was also the lone Canadian woman to compete in the elite level U.S. Quad Rugby Association for the Tampa Bay Generals.

It was wheelchair rugby teammate and Paralympian Patrice Dagenais who suggested she try Para canoe as the pandemic shut down team events. She joined the Ottawa River Canoe Club and coach Joel Hazzan, and attended training camps in Victoria and Vancouver before competing at the Paralympic team trials which led her to the opportunity in Hungary.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

2022, 2023, 2024 World Championships (five medals total: 0-3-2)… 2021 Paralympic Games… Member of Canada’s first female wheelchair rugby team that placed third at a World Cup in France in 2023…

PERSONAL

Injured in 2014 when struck by a speeding cab driver in Toronto. She was diagnosed as a tetraplegic… Trains with Khris Collins at BOSS Thai Boxing & Fitness in Kemptville, Ont…. Employed by BDC past 13 years and is now a senior underwriting analyst… Has a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and exercise science…

NOTABLE INTERNATIONAL RESULTS

  • 2024 World Championships – VL 2 – 2nd
  • 2024 World Championships – KL1 – 5th
  • 2023 World Championships – VL 2 – 2nd
  • 2023 World Championships – KL1 – 3rd
  • 2022 World Championships – VL 2 – 2nd
  • 2022 World Championships – KL1 – 3rd
  • 2021 Paralympic Games – VL2 200m – 5th
  • 2021 Paralympic Games – KL1 200m – 8th