|'Dancing With the Stars' Amy Purdy: 'The Only True Disability Is in Our Minds'|
|By MICHAEL ROTHMAN (@TheRealRothman)||Mar 17, 2014, 2:34 PM|
"Dancing With The Stars" returns for its 18th season tonight and the new crop of celebrity talent features some strong competition.
The cast includes two Olympic gold medalists, a former NHL star and a swimming legend.
But don't count out double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy, who said doing the dance competition show "wasn't a tough choice at all."
"I'm really looking forward to it," she added.
Purdy, 34, is paired with 5-time and returning champion Derek Hough, which she said "takes pressure off."
"He's a pro in every sense of the word and I'm so thrilled to have him as my partner," she told ABC News. "Knowing how talented he is makes me think that if I just do the best I can with everything he tells me, and 'follow his lead', I'll be all set."
Purdy lost both of her legs at 19 to meningitis and went on to become a world champion in adaptive snowboarding and competed at the recent Paralympics for Team USA.
Like others before her, Purdy said "DWTS" is "a great opportunity to show people not so much what I personally can do, but rather to show them that the only true disability is in our minds."
She added, "If we can see past preconceived limitations then the possibilities are endless. I'm here right now in Sochi, amidst truly remarkable people from all over the world, each of whom has a story of overcoming big challenges. Being on the show, if I can be just a tiny catalyst in getting people at large to see people with physical challenges a little differently that would be a great honor."
The biggest challenge for Purdy might be a lack of prep time.
"I have very little time to get ready for the first show because my focus right now is the finish line in Sochi," she said. "So, Derek has his hands full in getting the most out of our first dance with very little time for practice. I'll have to make some adjustments to my prosthetics, but I've got great people helping with that."
As for worrying about her other Olympic-caliber competition, Purdy is not paying attention to what she can't control.
"They were so beautiful on the ice together in Sochi that I'm looking forward to seeing them in the ballroom," she said. "I'm just thrilled to be there myself."
Purdy spoke to ABC on behalf of Duracell. The company is sharing inspiring videos celebrating the enduring human spirit. Purdy's video was just released a couple weeks back. Check it out.
"When disease took my legs, I eventually realized I didn't need them to lead a full, empowering life," Purdy said.
She is the third athlete to appear in Duracell's "Trust Your Power" video series.
"Dancing With The Stars" premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.