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Amy Purdy
Personal information
Birth name Amy Michelle Purdy
Nationality American
Born (1979-11-07) November 7, 1979 (age 43)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Spouse(s) Daniel Gale (m. 2015)
Medal record
Women's para snowboarding
Representing  United States
Paralympic Games
Silver 2018 Pyeongchang Snowboard cross
Bronze 2014 Sochi Snowboard cross
Bronze 2018 Pyeongchang Banked slalom
New Zealand Winter Games
Gold 2011 Cardrona Para-snowboard cross

Amy Michelle Purdy (born November 7, 1979) is an American actress, model, para-snowboarder, motivational speaker, clothing designer and author. Purdy is a 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, 2018 Paralympics silver medalist, and one of the top motivational speakers in the world. She is also the co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports.

Life and career

Purdy was born in Las Vegas in 1979. When she was 19 years old, she contracted Neisseria meningitidis, a form of bacterial meningitis. The disease affected her circulatory system when the infection led to septic shock; both of her legs had to be amputated below the knee, she lost both kidneys, and her spleen had to be removed. Doctors gave Purdy a 2% chance of survival. Two years later, she received a kidney transplant from her father.

Purdy began snowboarding seven months after she received her prosthetic legs. About a year after her legs were amputated, she finished third in a snowboarding competition at Mammoth Mountain. Subsequently, she received a grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), a non-profit organization. Through this grant, she was able to compete in several snowboarding competitions in the U.S.

In 2003, Purdy became involved in the modeling and acting industry. In February 2003, she played a model in a Madonna music video. She then went on to compete on the TV Show "The Amazing Race" and became runner up on the TV show "Dancing With the Stars" in 2014.

She has gone on to co-found her own non-profit organization, Adaptive Action Sports, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA for individuals with physical disabilities who want to get involved in action sports (snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing) or art and music. Her organization is one of the top development programs in the country for Paralympic Snowboarders.

Amy, her husband Daniel Gale and their organization Adaptive Action Sports were trailblazers in the push to get snowboarding into the Paralympic Games.

In 2005, Purdy made her film debut in What's Bugging Seth, a movie by Eli Steele.

She went on to become one of the most known Paralympians in the world and up until 2018 she was the most decorated Paralympic Snowboarder in the US.

Amy went on win a bronze medal in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia and a bronze and silver medal in the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games.

She was a featured athlete in the 2014 ESPN Body issue.

In 2014 Amy toured across the country speaking to stadiums of people alongside Oprah Winfrey for her Life You Want Tour.

She was named one of ESPNW's Impact 25 in 2014, and one of Oprah's SuperSoul 100 visionaries and influential leaders in 2016.

In 2019 she became the first Paralympian to be on the cover of Women's Health Magazine.

She retired from competitive sports in March 2022.

Amy has been listed as one of the top motivational speakers in the world year after year.

Television appearances

In 2012, Purdy and her now husband Daniel Gale participated on the 21st season of The Amazing Race. After nearly winning the first leg of the race, they were the second team eliminated and finished in 10th place out of 11 teams.

On February 5, 2014, Purdy was in a one-hour special on NBC television titled How to Raise an Olympian. The program, hosted by Meredith Vieira, chronicled the journeys of seven U.S. Olympians and included interviews with parents and coaches along with home video and photos from each athlete's childhood. Purdy went on to win the bronze medal in Snowboard Cross in the 2014 Winter Paralympics.

On June 9, 2014, Purdy appeared on CBS's The Price Is Right as a guest model.

In 2015, Purdy was featured in a Super Bowl advert for the Toyota Camry. The advert features Purdy snowboarding, dancing, and adjusting her prosthetic legs with a voiceover of Muhammad Ali's "How Great I Am" speech. Reviews questioned the efficacy of the ad; "It’s really an ad about how amazing Amy Purdy is versus how amazing the new Camry is", said advertising professional Megan Hartman. On February 22, 2015, Purdy drove the Toyota Camry pace car in the 57th running of the Daytona 500.

Purdy was a celebrity judge at the Miss America 2016 pageant on September 13, 2015.


On December 30, 2014, Purdy released a memoir entitled On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs To Learning The Dance Of Life, published by HarperCollins that went on to become a New York Times Best Seller.


2016 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony, Amy Purdy with robot 2
Purdy dancing with a robotic arm at the 2016 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony

Purdy was a contestant on season 18 of Dancing with the Stars. Paired with five-time champion Derek Hough, Purdy was the first double amputee contestant to ever appear on the show. Hough was, at the time, fresh from winning his fifth Mirrorball trophy and did not plan on coming back to the show. However, he changed his mind when Purdy joined the show as a contestant.

During the show, Purdy was repeatedly praised for her fast learning skills, immense natural dancing ability, incredible endurance and passion and for being a role model. She never received any score lower than an 8. She received her first perfect score (40 out of 40) for her eighth dance, the Argentine tango, while dancing it after having an intense back injury the week prior. Purdy went on to receive a total of three perfect scores and four near-perfect scores (29 out of 30 or 39 out of 40).

Purdy was consistently deemed safe to advance to the week after, and she made it all the way to the finale with Olympic ice dancer Gold medalist Meryl Davis and actress Candace Cameron-Bure. Purdy eventually finished as a runner-up to Davis, and Bure took third place. In her appearance on the show, Purdy broke several records: she was the first double amputee contestant on the show and joined the list of few contestants to never receive any score lower than an 8 from the judges. Her performance average of 27.9 out of 30 is among the top ten of the highest ever on the show's history (with Davis' 28.4 average being the highest ever).

Week # Dance/song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Cha-Cha-Cha/"Counting Stars" 8 8 8 No Elimination
2 Swing/"Swing Set" (Jurassic 5) 8 8 8 Safe
3 Contemporary/"Human" 9 9/9 9 Safe
4 Salsa/"Brand New" 9 8/8 9 No Elimination
5 Waltz/"So This Is Love" 9 9/10 9 Safe
6 Jive/"Shout" 9 10*/9 10 Safe
7 Rumba/"Light My Fire"
Team Loca (Freestyle)/"Livin' la Vida Loca"
8 Argentine Tango/"Heart Upon My Sleeve"
Jive Dance Duel/"Ain't Nothing Wrong with That"
Quickstep/"You Can't Hurry Love"
Jazz/"Too Darn Hot"
Salsa/"Ran Kan Kan"
Freestyle/"Dare You"
Argentine Tango & Cha-Cha-Cha Fusion/"Rather Be"

At the 2016 Summer Paralympics' opening ceremony, Purdy made an appearance performing a dance routine with what was promoted as a "surprise partner": a KUKA robotic arm.

In 2018 Amy was back on Dancing with the Stars Season 27 dancing with Tinashe & Brandon in a trio dance

See also

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