Follow and demolish your own limits - Josefa Idem
To follow and demolish your own limits- is the philosophy of Josefa Idem, one of the leading women athletes in Italy. Born in West Germany in 1964, Josefa began paddling or canoeing at the age of 11. Her sports career began at the age of 13 but she participated in her first Olympics when she was 20. She won her first bronze medal in the Olympics for the country of her birth, Germany in 1984. After the Games, she moved to Italy in 1989 where she met her new coach and future husband, Guglielmo Guerrini. Their partnership clicked and she married him in 1990. She changed her citizenship and settled in Italy thereafter. She has since then dominated the sprint canoe scene in Italy.
She is a canoeist and a world and Olympic champion in the individual kayak category. She has won 35 medals in her 20 year career and has recently competed at the 2012 Olympics at the age of 47. To qualify for the finals, Josefa competed with others who were in their twenties in the semi-final this year. She won the gold medal in 2000 Olympics held at Sydney. Having won many medals, she thought of breaking the participation record in Olympics. She is the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games. Overall she has won 5 Olympic medals. After her second son was born, she made a comeback with the Athens Olympics (2000). She was unable to defend her title but got a silver medal here. She has won 6 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze medals in Olympics and World championships.
Idem is now 48 and a mother of two sons. She considers sports to be a great pastime for her and she trains for 4 hours daily. She has had a gymnasium in her home so that she can train and yet stay close to her sons. She believes in consistency and honest efforts. Tiredness, bad weather or problems at home can come but she thinks the effort and discipline has to be put in if success is desired.
Josefa writes for a daily sports paper and has served six years as councilor for sports in Italy. She has published her autobiography called "Controcorrente" or Counter Current and visits universities with her husband to motivate and inspire young students to take up sports. A motivational speaker now, Josefa believes that goodness lies in pulling up others and is proud to be an inspiration for many women. She has campaigned for justice, women rights and social equality. She has worked for the cause of multiple sclerosis and its cures.