Courageous Paralympian Wows “Dancing With The Stars” Audience
Posted on March 19, 2014
Commentary by:Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb
Stories about triumph of the human spirit never cease to amaze me.
A performance by double amputee Amy Purdy on Monday night’s 2014 season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” wowed the audience, and was courageous. Without prior knowledge that Purdy was dancing on two prosthetic legs, one would not have had a clue from the way she moved and swayed with dancing pro partner Derek Hough during a routine that earned the team a standing ovation and is sure to inspire others with disabilities.
Purdy’s willingness to put herself front and center and dance on television in front of millions of viewers was an astounding act of personal strength. It comes on the heels of her winning a bronze medal in snowboarding for the United States at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Obviously, competing in the paralympics is high profile. However, Purdy’s appearance on DWTS placed her before a wider audience, doing something new and unfamiliar – daunting for anyone.
“You are a beacon of light,” dancing judge Carry Ann Inaba told Purdy.
It was at age 19 that the now 34-year-old Purdy lost all kidney function and both her legs from the knees down to meningitis.
“When the disease took my legs, I eventually realized I didn’t need them to lead a full, empowering life,” she said in an interview with ABC News.
She went on to say the only true disability “is in our minds.”
In 2005, Purdy also co-founded Adaptive Action Sports with her boyfriend Daniel Gale.
Certainly Hough, a five-time DWTS mirror ball champion and Primetime Emmy Award winner for choreography routines done on the show, deserves credit for the way he too is tackling this challenge. Hough flew to Sochi to rehearse with Purdy and put together a Cha- cha- cha routine that brought attention not to her prosthetics but to Purdy’s dancing.