Amy Purdy has been at the forefront of adaptive snowboarding since having both legs amputated in 1999 after surviving bacterial meningitis. Determined to beat the odds and continue her passion, she was riding again well before professional advice ever suggested and it did not take long for Purdy to be the force she is today.
Purdy has been a top-ranked snowboarder since 2011 and is a four-time IPCAS Snowboard World Cup medallist.
Purdy began snowboarding at age 15, but in 1999, she contracted bacterial meningitis at the age of 19 and had less than a two per cent chance of living. She was able to survive the infection, but lost both of her legs below the knee and would later require a kidney from her father the week before her 21st birthday.
Purdy longed to return to snowboarding, and when she couldn’t find prosthetics that would work for snowboarding, she built her own. In 2005 she co-founded Adaptive Action Sports with her partner Daniel Gale, a non-profit organisation and branch of Disabled Sports USA that is dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports. She was instrumental in advocating for the inclusion of adaptive snowboarding to Sochi 2014 Paralympics.
After founding Adaptive Action Sports, Purdy has pushed the boundaries of her sport in the USA and abroad, helping others find and love the sport so central to her life. A model and regular media talent, Purdy’s story toward was followed to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Away from the snow, Purdy is a qualified makeup artist, accomplished actor (she played a runway model in a Madonna music video) and motivational speaker.
Purdy also skateboards, wakeboards, runs and rides mountain bikes.
After winning bronze in the debut of para-snowboard cross at Sochi 2014, Purdy's fame went through the roof. Since returning from Russia, she has starred on the popular American TV show Dancing with the Stars where she finished second with dance partner Derek Hough, gaining a huge amount of admiration and popularity.