Interview with Steve Emt: 2-Time Paralympic Wheelchair Curler

Interview with Steve Emt: 2-Time Paralympic Wheelchair Curler

Steve EMT has been an athlete his entire life. After his accident at the age of 25 he was looking for that 1 sport that would fill the competition void he had inside of him. He tried several adaptive sports and nothing really stuck. When asked how he got into curling, Steve shared an unusual story: “In the summer of 2013 I went away to Cape Cod MA for a weekend. While sitting outside a bakery in Woods Hole MA eating, watching the ferries come in, enjoying the beautiful day, a man approached him and said “Excuse me…are you local?” I responded “No, I’m from CT. About 2.5 hours away.” There was a short stint of silence between us and finally I asked the man why he asked me that question. He said “I train with the Paralympic Curling Team here on the Cape. I saw you pushing up the hill in your chair and I can make you into an Olympian in a year.” To which I responded…”What the heck is curling? And where do I sign up?”” That man, Tony Colacchio, saw Emt on the street, parked his truck and walked around Woods Hole for 40 minutes until he found Emt. They then talked about the sport for a little bit. When Emt got home he Googled curling and instantly was intrigued. He went back to the Cape a couple weeks later and tried it out for the first time and immediately fell in love with it. “It lit that fire inside of me! So…how did I get into this sport…I got stalked into the sport! And I am so grateful to Tony for stalking me that day!!!”  Emt has been curling and on Team USA ever since. 

Steve Emt curling

After being told he needed to write a book about his experiences, Emt recently published You D.E.C.I.D.E., a half-memoir, half-self help book. Emt says he has experienced so much more in his 50 years than most people experience in their entire lives. And he is more successful today because of it all! The first half of the book is all about Emt’s life. The second half is a 6 step action plan that people can use when faced with difficult decisions in their life. Whether they are good or bad…we are faced with decisions daily. Emt’s book empowers people to look at themselves as the hero of their own lives. In his words, “We all have it inside of us to do GREAT things!” 

When asked how he has been preparing for this year’s Paralympic Games in Beijing, Emt said he has been preparing for Beijing since the day he left his last Paralympics 4 years ago in PyeongChang. Whether he is on the ice training or off the ice meditating, watching game film, doing some positive imagery, or going through shots in his mind, curling and Beijing are at the center of his thoughts every day. 

A typical day for Emt is getting up around 5:30 in the morning, grabbing a quick breakfast and getting into his van to make the 3 hour round trip to his club in CT. Practice sessions typically last 1 to 1.5 hours where Emt and his coach throw a ton of different shots and work on strategy. When he gets home he grabs lunch and goes through some mental work like meditation, positive imprinting, etc. Emt tries to finish off the day with a physical workout. The few days he is not on the ice, he spends a little more time on the mental aspects of the game and practices throwing the shots in his living room, where he visualizes himself making every shot he takes. Emt finds it incredibly important to reinforce his shooting training to maintain his accuracy. 

Steve Emt curling

Emt is among the lucky ones when it comes to post-practice recovery! His wife is a massage therapist,  so Emt is quite fortunate to have access to massage therapy, cupping, and an infrared sauna to help ease the physical aches and pains of working out. Mentally, Emt believes it is very important to get away from the sport once his workouts are done for the day, “It’s important to be able to separate my sport and my life. If it’s curling 100% of the day burnout would set in and it would no longer be any fun. I’ve got a great balance in my life so as I’m driving that 1.5 hours to my club…I know there is ice waiting for me at the end of the trip. That makes it an enjoyable ride.”

At the 2022 Paralympic games in Beijing, Emt is most looking forward to sharing an incredible experience with his teammates. Emt is the only returning Paralympian on USA’s Paralympic Curling team. Emt mentioned that Team USA did not perform well in PyeongChang in 2018, so the team has redemption on their minds. After making some personnel and coaching changes to the team,  they are now expecting to win every time they take the ice. Emt said, “In the years past we were hoping to win…and that is not good. There is nobody else in the country that I’d compete against the world with than what we have on our team right now.”

Once the Beijing closing ceremony has ended, Emt says he will be setting his sights on the 2026 Paralympics in Italy. The team will usually take about a month off after the Paralympics and then it’s right back to work preparing for the upcoming World Championships and ultimately Italy in 2026.

Steve Emt on the ice

When asked about what advice he might have for those wondering if a parasport is for them Emt said, “DO IT!!! There are so many adaptive sports programs out there in the country that will help us try out different sports. I tried a few different sports before I finally found the one. There’s no excuse to not get out of your house and get out and experience different things. Try them all. I promise you will eventually find the one that lights that fire in you…just like I did!” Emt’s advice for curling specifically is to find a club that is local to you and contact them about trying it out1 They will be more than helpful in getting you on the ice. If for some reason you hit a wall and can’t get any information, Emt has offered our readers his own services to personally make sure you get out and try this wonderful sport! You can find Steve Emt on Instagram @stephen.emt and be sure to watch him on the ice at the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing!

Images courtesy of Steve Emt.

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