2014 Winter Olympics

Amy Purdy: Profile of US Snowboarding Paralympian for Sochi 2014

United States Olympic Winter Games Para Olympian snowboarding participant Amy Purdy poses for a portrait at the 2013 Team USA Media Summit on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 in Park City, UT. (AP Photo/Carlo Allegri)
Carlo Allegri/Associated Press
Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2014

Crash Course: Amy Purdy started snowboarding as an able-bodied teenager and dreamed of a career in the sport. But when she contracted bacterial meningitis at age 19 and lost her spleen, kidneys and both legs below the knees, that dream seemed in jeopardy. However, she taught herself how to snowboard again and became a three-time World Cup gold medalist in adaptive snowboarding with her prosthetic legs.

Athletic Profile: Purdy, 34, has been the preeminent performer in her sport. She has been the top-ranked adaptive snowboarder in the world since 2011. Her creativity and success on the mountain has had a lot to do with making snowboard cross an official event in the Paralympics.

Life-Changing Illness: Purdy thought she had the flu when she came home from work in 1999 feeling sick. It was bacterial meningitis, and her organs started shutting down as she was transported to the hospital. She was in a coma for three weeks and was given a two-percent chance to live. But just seven months later, she was back on a snowboard, and she has become a world-class athlete.

Giving Back: After finding that there were no resources for disabled athletes in non-traditional sports, Purdy started Adaptive Action Sports to help disabled athletes perform in snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, rock climbing and motocross. 

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Screen Scene: Purdy competed on the CBS reality program "The Amazing Race." She has also appeared in the film "What's Bugging Seth?," as well as "Last Call with Carson Daly" and the TV documentary "Pass the Bucket." 

Social Profile: Purdy has a Twitter page with nearly 3,400 followers, a Facebook page with 6,300 fans and an Instagram account with nearly 2,400 followers. She also has her own web page.

Quote to Note: “I think the most exciting part is to know that when I am in those start gates in Sochi that I have the support of other Paralympians, Olympians, my sponsors and the world behind me. It's actually a very emotional thing for me to think about at this moment.”  Amy Purdy

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