SOCHI, March 13. /ITAR-TASS/. It is hard to believe that charismatic US Paralympic curler Jimmy Joseph will be turning 52 this year as flashing his constant smile and being on friendly terms with almost everyone here at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi he looks way much younger than his age.
When asked how he managed to remain so young, wheelchair-bound Joseph said “Well you know, I guess I have good genes.”
“No gray hair. Maybe one or two. I am very active, very energetic, there is a lot of energy in me. I just stay active all the time,” he said.
The compelling athlete is always surrounded by many people and young female volunteers usually ask him for his autograph, but Joseph says it is not popularity and he is just being himself.
“You know it’s just me out there being me. They just love that, I guess. They want my autographs. It’s just they know who I am, I guess. They shout sometime ‘Jim you are the rock star!’ They love my personality. I am always smiling and having great time at everything,” the US Paralympian said.
Asked about the origin of his injury, Joseph said “It was back in 1987 working for garbage company and I was squished between two trucks.”
“That was when I lost my legs. I was 25 years old. It’s been 26 years in the wheelchair. And local guy Marc DePerno at the central rehabilitation center got hold of me, he is our team leader now. And once I talked to him he changed my life and here I am - three-time Paralympian curling, I play basketball, I do wheelchair racing.”
When asked again about playing wheelchair basketball, Joseph said “Yeah, I love that! It’s awesome man” and added that he likes dancing as well.
“Yes I do love to dance and it is all kind of dancing,” he said.
Many Paralympic athletes have their families and relatives here in Sochi to support them, while Joseph said “My wife and my daughter are home, 5,000 miles away in New York state.”
The courageous athlete said he nevertheless missed his family and looked for returning to the United States in time to make for his daughter Janaya’s birthday.
“She is six now. She will be seven when I get home on 20th. I love her,” he said.