Josh Cassidy's wheels are a spinning work of art
Graphic design graduate personalized racing helmet, wheels
RIO DE JANEIRO — Whether Josh Cassidy wins or loses, one thing is certain: you can't take your eyes off of his wheels.
Competing in his third Paralympic Games, the 31-year- old's trademark red and white spirals help the wheels on his racing wheelchair to stand out in a sport where basic black spinners are the usual norm.
"It's unique and I was the first to think of it," Cassidy said after his 5000 metre final Sunday morning where he placed 10th overall.
"It keeps me from being mixed up with the others when friends and family are trying to watch."
The Sheridan College graphic design graduate also wears a helmet decorated with his own sketched symbols, which, among many images, includes the maple leaf, the Rocky Mountains and the number 33 — an homage to his childhood hockey hero, Patrick Roy.
"He was my biggest role model when I was a kid," the three-time Parapan Am medalist said. "I identified with his passion and work ethic."
Cassidy who in 2012 raced the fastest wheelchair marathon in history, says he's had a difficult 2016 season so far. He has come to Rio in search of the one achievement that has eluded him, a Paralympic medal.
Josh Cassidy made a huge push, but ultimately finishes 10th in the 5000m T54 final <a href="https://t.co/3MlUZZGHIg">https://t.co/3MlUZZGHIg</a>—@CBCOlympics
"It's been a year full of struggles and challenges," Cassidy remarked. "Hopefully it will all come together when it matters most."
Entered in two more events, the 1500m and the 800m, the graphic artist might draw some inspiration from the Wolverine image that adorns the right side of his helmet.
"I'm a big comic book fan and Wolverine is Canadian," he joked. "The sketch represents the fierce loner inside of me when I'm training and I'm out on my own doing what I can." Cassidy will hit the track again on Monday in the 1500m heats.
With files from the Canadian Paralympic Committee