Have you seen her dance moves? The Paralympian dancing her way into viewer’s living rooms each week and raising awareness of disability is Amy Purdy, the top ranked adaptive snowboarder. Hot off the competition in Sochi, Amy explained on the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars that she started training for the show while still competing in the Paralympic snowboard competitions.
On last week’s episode Amy shared her story with viewers, explaining that at age 19 she contracted meningitis which left her a double amputee of both legs. She went on to show viewers her artificial limbs which are complete with molded feet that she slips into her dancing shoes while twisting and twirling around the dance floor with the ease of someone who looks like they have years of experience.
Her unbelievable story, only led to viewers to being blown away by Amy’s impressive dancing skills. She is partnered up with Derrick Hough, a professional dancer, who said during his first week training with Amy that this was his greatest challenge yet since his many seasons on the show working with non-professional dancers from all walks of life.
Derrick and Amy performed a Cha Cha as their first dance, a dance known for its many twists and turns and quick foot movement. Purdy left the judges in awe that despite her disability, she powered through the dance, earning high marks comparable to those of her non-disabled competitors.
When she is not competing in the Paralympics or entering national televised dancing competitions, Purdy runs the non-profit organization she founded called Adaptive Action Sports, to help people with disabilities get into sports. According to the Dancing with the Stars website, the AAS organization helped get adaptive snowboarding recognized as a sport in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
While the newest season of the show is just kicking off, audiences are sure to find Purdy’s positive attitude, powerful spirit and positive role-modeling a crowd pleaser in every performance she gives. Perhaps the greatest lesson that Purdy will share with audiences is not an amazing dance routine, but rather than if you put your mind to something, you can achieve the impossible, in the face of disability.
What are your favorite messages that contestants like Purdy bring to popular, nationwide television shows? Have you followed Purdy’s athletic career or cheer her on during the Paralympics in Sochi this year? Share in the comments!
*Photo courtesy Flickr Creative commons