Paralympics bronze medalist snowboarding medalist Amy Purdy will be participating in the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars with her dance pro partner, Derek Hough.
Amy Purdy, 34, is a model and massage therapist from Las Vegas besides being a snowboarder who won the bronze medal in Sochi. After she won the medal on Friday morning, she boarded an airplane headed to Hollywood to take part in the 18th season of Dancing With the Stars.
The rest of the cast of Dancing With the Stars will be made up of other top athletes, singers, reality-TV stars, and actors and actresses. Amy Purdy will be the show’s first double amputee. In 2007, Heather Mills, the former wife of Paul McCartney, was the first person on Dancing With the Stars who danced with a prosthetic leg on the show.
Amy Purdy took up the sport of snowboarding at age 15. When Purdy was 19, she thought she’d gotten a case of the flu, but she actually had come down with bacterial meningitis. Within a day, Purdy was hospitalized. After Purdy was placed on life support, she was in a coma for 21 days. She had both her legs amputated just below the knees and was given only a two percent chance of recovering.
Amy Purdy not only survived her battle with bacterial meningitis, she became a motivational speaker and a member of Team USA’s Paralympic snowboarding team. Now, she also has the chance to become the winner of the 18th season of Dancing With the Stars.
In 2005, Purdy became, along with her boyfriend, Daniel Gale, the co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports. It took years of pushing, but finally, snowboarding was included as a Paralympic sport.
According to Derek Hough, he doesn’t look at Amy Purdy as having “lost” anything. He says that, instead, “she has gained two prosthetics.” She is an optimist rather than a pessimist, and always looks at any obstacle that comes her way as an opportunity to succeed.
Hough even flew to Sochi and they both worked around Purdy’s training schedule to get in some dance training in the cha-cha-cha, samba, and tango before the competition starts. Despite the odds that seemed stacked against her, Amy Purdy has faced higher odds before, and has beaten them, so perhaps she might just end up as the winner of season 18 of Dancing With the Stars. On Monday, Purdy and Hough will continue working together at a Los Angeles television studio.
Purdy has special feet that are adjustable and can go up to 2.5 inches, to simulate having high heeled shoes on. She also has a set just for snowboarding, one for running, and now one for dancing.
The Paralympics bronze medalist plans to wear the same sorts of costumes that the other females in the cast will wear, sparkly ones that show off a person’s legs. She hopes that everyone’s focus won’t be on her legs, but that people will see her as a dancer, just like everyone else there.
Amy Purdy has the heart and spirit of a champion, and she just might add winning the mirror-ball trophy awarded to the winners of Dancing With the Stars to her growing list of accomplishments. She hopes that her participation in Dancing With the Stars will bring more recognition and exposure to Paralympics.
Written by: Douglas Cobb