Joseph Aims for First U.S. Wheelchair Curling Paralympic Medal
Despite only participating in wheelchair curling since 2004, James Joseph will make his second Paralympic Games appearance next year in Vancouver. He picked up his first push stick five years ago, and he hasn't been able to put it down since.
The 47-year-old from New Hartford, N.Y., sits proudly in his wheelchair when he's on the ice. Joseph lost his legs in a car accident in 1987. Essentially he was trapped between two automobiles, and both of his legs had to be amputated.
But Joseph took positive action in his recovery period to end up where he is today: counting down the days until the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. After his accident, he got involved in new sports - like road racing, wheelchair curling and wheelchair basketball - and he was able to keep some old hobbies - like working out and golfing.
The wheelchair curler earned the nickname "Jimmy Jam" because "I jam at everything I do." Joseph is full of energy and puts everything he has into whatever his latest project is. He even used the nickname for his winter business, Jimmy Jam Snowplowing.
In Joseph's first year of wheelchair curling, he was the 2004 National Wheelchair Curling Champion. The following year he placed eighth at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships, which first commenced in 2002. At the sport's debut at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, he finished eighth.
The wheelchair curler did better at the 2007 world championships, placing fifth, and last year he helped his team earn bronze, which was Team USA's first podium finish at that event. In May of 2008, New York Senator Joseph A. Griffo designated Joseph as the recipient of the New York Senate Achievers' Award, "which recognizes individuals who overcome challenges and [which] honors their accomplishments on behalf of their community."
This past December, Joseph was nominated as the second to the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Team, and the following February, Team USA finished fourth at the 2009 world championships. If he and his teammates continue their steady improvement, they definitely are looking to medal in Vancouver.
As the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games draw closer, Joseph is gearing up for the international competition. He's been quoted as saying that he loves the sport and is never going to give it up, so he probably won't give up competing in the Paralympic Winter Games until he wins a medal - a shiny, new gold medal - which would be Team USA's first Paralympic medal in the sport.