Ellen Keane is an esteemed Irish Paralympic swimmer and a celebrated gold medalist. Competing in the S9, SM9, and SB8 classification events, Keane has demonstrated remarkable prowess in her field. In the memoir Perfectly Imperfect (2023), Keane offers an intimate look into her life.
Born with an undeveloped left arm, Ellen Keane competes as an amputee, embracing her identity and turning challenges into strengths. She balances her athletic career with academic pursuits at the Dublin Institute of Technology.
Among her many accomplishments are three bronze medals at world championships, a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics, and a triumphant gold medal in the same event at the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
In 2017, Keane received the Lord Mayor's Award from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr. This award celebrates individuals who significantly enrich the city through their everyday lives.
She shared her empowering story in a TEDx Talk titled "My Lucky Fin" in 2017, where she discussed redefining her perspective on disability and its transformative impact on her life. Additionally, her talents were showcased on a different stage in 2022 when she appeared on the Irish version of Dancing With the Stars, finishing in second place.
Recognized for her contribution to sports and as a role model for women, Keane was featured on a stamp collection launched by An Post for International Women's Day in 2022.
Perfectly Imperfect (2023) chronicles her journey from a shy, self-conscious girl hiding her limb difference to a gold-winning Paralympian exuding strength and confidence. Through personal anecdotes, practical advice, and humor, Keane encourages readers to accept their imperfections and find their superpowers, proving that embracing oneself can be life-changing.
Photo credit: IG @keane_ellen