Even at home, Joe Birch has heart of Olympian - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Even at home, Joe Birch has heart of Olympian

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Instead of covering the 2012 Olympic Games for WMC, Joe Birch is recovering from a broken neck suffered in a car crash, but he still has the heart of an Olympian. Instead of covering the 2012 Olympic Games for WMC, Joe Birch is recovering from a broken neck suffered in a car crash, but he still has the heart of an Olympian.
Joe has been an Olympic Torch bearer twice, carrying the torch in 1996 and then again 2001. Joe has been an Olympic Torch bearer twice, carrying the torch in 1996 and then again 2001.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - No one's a bigger fan of the Olympics than Action News 5's Joe Birch.

Instead of covering the 2012 Olympic Games for WMC, Joe has been forced to the sidelines as he recovers from a broken neck suffered in a car crash a week and half ago.

Two of Joe's vertebrae were fractured during the wreck, but doctors say they're already healing.

"I go to the doctor next Monday for an x-ray and we're going to see where I'm at, and hopefully I'll be able to report to duty sometime next week," Joe said.

He may be on the sidelines now, but there have been plenty of times when Joe has gotten into the game. He traveled to Atlanta in 1996 and provided 25 days of coverage for the Mid-South.

He's even been an Olympic Torch bearer twice. He carried it in 1996 and then again 2001.

Joe had the chance to carry the torch because NBC broadcasts the Olympics and because the Olympic Torch's route came through Memphis.

"All the NBC affiliates had the opportunity to send one person to carry the torch and I was lucky enough to be selected," Joe said. "It's absolutely thrilling to carry that torch."

He still has both torches that once burned brightly with the Olympic flame.

But the torches aren't the only Olympic mementos he's owned. He also collected Olympic pins over the years.

"It's a fun little hobby, one of the few collections that I have," Joe said.

He gave those pins to his children when they were younger, but recently they had a quite a surprise in store for their dad.

"I gave all my pins to my children and they gave them back to me last Christmas in a shadow box," he said. "It was very sweet."

However, Olympic pins aren't just for show.

"When you're at the games, it's very common to just run into people and exchange a pin," Joe said.

While he won't do too much Olympic pin trading this time around, he has bought a few to commemorate the London Olympic Games.

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