This past Monday Season 18 of Dancing With the Stars aired and Amy Purdy, a snowboarding paralympian just won her first bronze medal in Sochi and is the first ever-disabled contestant to compete on the show. I think Purdy is a great role model for women, people with disabilities, and anyone. She contracted bacterial meningitis around the age of 19 and nearly died. Purdy lost both of her kidneys and both of her legs, making her a double amputee. But that did not stop her as she is a fighter. Purdy would later get a kidney transplant from her father and resume her passion of snowboarding.
But Purdy realized that her love of snowboarding was not a prominent sport in the world of disability. She would later meet her partner, Gale, and they would take a class on how to create a nonprofit organization. And so Adaptive Action Sports was born and provided a platform where people with physical disabilities could focus on sports besides running and cycling such as snowboarding, wakeboarding, rock climbing, and motocross which were previously unavailable to the community. Adaptive Action Sports broke new ground and has given people with disabilities the opportunity to play action sports and would eventually be recruited to organize the X Games Adaptive Moto X event. Purdy is not only an activist for the disabled but she is a woman of many talents.
After winning her bronze medal for snowboarding, Purdy would then take a 16 hour flight to practice her routine with Derek Hough having only over a day and a half to prepare for the first episode of Season 18 of Dancing With the Stars. She earned a score of 24/30, which is a really good start for the first week. Judge, Len Goodman, told Purdy that he cannot judge her differently because of her disability showing that Purdy is just like every other contestant and will not be treated unfairly or given special treatment because of her disability.
Another judge, Carrie Ann Inaba, said to Purdy, “I am in shock, I have never seen anything like that … you are a beacon of light.” I too believe that Purdy is a beacon of light for both women and people with disabilities. She proves that anyone can do whatever he or she wishes to accomplish if they put their mind to it. Not many people could snowboard and win a bronze medal, not many people could learn how to do a professional dance routine with little experience, and not many people would have the will power to create their own nonprofit organization that would benefit and help other people. Did I also mention that Purdy is 34? She doesn’t let age get in her way either, like many others do.
I for one think Purdy is a game changer in the world of able-bodied people and is a good role model for women as she proves that any woman can do whatever she wants whether it be becoming an Olympic athlete or starting an organization. Time will tell if Purdy will go far in Dancing With the Stars and if her debut on the show will give more women and men with disabilities confidence to try new things. Do you think Purdy will last long in the competition? More importantly do you feel that Purdy is a good role model for women and people with disabilities’? Let me know I would love to hear.