If you’ve felt something missing in your life since the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games ended, have no fear: the 2018 Paralympics are about to begin. The 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games begin on Friday, March 9th, running until March 18th. That’s two additional weeks of all of your favorite Olympic sports, this time with different athletes! And one star you’ll definitely want to watch out for is paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy, who is sure to be a big name throughout the competition.
Purdy is a super talented para-snowboarder on Team USA, one of the athletes expected to dominate this year. She’s a two-time Paralympian who also competed in 2014, when she won a bronze medal for snowboard-cross. In 2017, Purdy won bronze for banked slalom at the World Championships, and in the past she has scored both silver and bronze medals.
Like basically all of the Paralympic athletes, Purdy has a seriously inspiring life story.
She’s been snowboarding since she was 15 years old, but at age 19 she contracted bacterial meningitis. Purdy was given a 2% chance of surviving, and she ended up losing both kidneys, had her spleen removed, and had both of her legs amputated below the knee. Two years later, she received a kidney transplant from her father.
Purdy didn’t let the illness stop her and continued snowboarding. According to Sports Illustrated, she actually built her own prosthetic legs to keep at it. In fact, Purdy has said that being able to continue snowboarding has gotten her through her “toughest days.” She told Sports Illustrated,
Besides killing it at para-snowboarding, Purdy dedicates much of her time to inspiring other disabled athletes. She has been an outspoken advocate for the inclusion of adaptive snowboarding to the 2014 Paralympic Games. In 2005, she co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, “a non-profit origination and branch of Disabled Sports USA that is dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports.” She’s a spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which provides grants for training, competition, and equipment for athletes with disabilities. She also conducted an amazing Ted Talk in 2011.
In her spare time, Purdy also works in the entertainment world. She has competed on Dancing With The Stars and was a contestant on the 21st season of The Amazing Race. In 2014, she was featured in a one-hour NBC special called How To Raise An Olympian. She has appeared on The Price Is Right, made it into a Super Bowl ad for the Toyota Camry, was a celebrity judge at the Miss America 2016 pageant, and was a guest judge on Say Yes To The Dress. On top of all of that, Purdy is also the author of the book On My Own Two Feet, a memoir about her life journey. (I’m exhausted just writing all of that!)
This year, Purdy will be one of only five women competing in the snowboard-cross and banked slalom portion of the Paralympics in South Korea. The sport is new — it only debuted four years ago in Sochi.
We can’t wait to see how Purdy does out there on the slopes — we’re anticipating big things. But even if she doesn’t come home with another medal, we’re sure Purdy will rebound with yet another exciting project. Keep an eye on this one!