Double-Amputee Amy Purdy ‘Excited’ to Compete on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

By ABC News

Mar 5, 2014 8:22am

Amy Purdy is a sensation on the slopes, but the world-class paralympic snowboarder will trade in her snow boots for dancing shoes when she joins the new celebrity cast of the 18th season of “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC.

Purdy is teaming up with five-time “Dancing” champion Derek Hough.

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When the two first met, Hough, 28, asked Purdy, 34, what she was most excited about for her upcoming turn on the show.

“I’m excited about the dancing, of course,” she said.

While there have been several athletes in the celebrity cast of the dance reality TV competition, Purdy is the first paralympian in its history.

When she was 19, Purdy lost both her lower legs to a near-fatal case of bacterial meningitis.

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Speaking in the P&G’s Olympic primetime special “How to Raise an Olympian,” Sheri Purdy talked about her daughter’s illness, saying she was “struck down so quickly, in such an actual horrific way.”

Amy Purdy was in a coma for nearly three weeks, and was given a less than 2 percent chance to live.

“I remember thinking, this is so surreal. This is so crazy. I thought, ‘This is what it feels like to die,’” she said, speaking in the special.

Purdy pulled through, but a lack of circulation required that she have both legs amputated below the knees. She said her passion and drive for snowboarding never went away.

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“Even after I lost both my legs, I never even questioned if I would do it again,” she said in the special, adding: “The journey has been so powerful and so amazing. I’m learning how strong I am, how resilient I am. I’m learning my weaknesses. And I’m taking this time to be the best I can be. Physically, mentally, spiritually.”

Driven by sheer passion, Amy Purdy was snowboarding again just seven months after her illness, and two years after she lost her legs, she was competing again. She has won three World Cup gold medals for adaptive snowboarding.

She also helped launch Adaptive Action Sports, an organization that helps disabled youth and wounded veterans become involved in action sports.

Purdy will take part in next week’s Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. She’ll compete in the first ever para-snowboard event, and then return to vie for the mirror ball trophy on “Dancing With the Stars,” which debuts Monday, March 17, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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