Paralympian Amy Purdy has spoken of her love for Brazil ahead of her starring role in Wednesday’s Opening Ceremony for the Rio 2016 Games.
The 36-year-old US snowboarder, who won bronze at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, is also an actress and model and appeared on the hit US television series ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
At the Maracana, she will perform a Samba dance with a mystery partner. It follows her starring role in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in the same stadium last month.
Purdy, who lot both of her legs at 19 after contracting bacterial meningitis, wrote the bestseller ‘On My Own Two Feet’ about how she overcame her amputation and learnt how to dance.
She said she was enjoying her second visit to Rio in the space of a few weeks.
“My Brazil has been incredible,” she said. “There’s a lot that has impressed me. The first thing is the scenery – it’s unlike any other scenery I’ve seen before. The shape of the mountains, the bay, the water, Cristo (Christ the Redeemer), Sugarloaf, all of it is absolutely spectacular.
“The other day we went and watched the sunset at Sugarloaf. I have so many photos on my phone and they’re all beautiful. So many beautiful sunsets from Copacabana, Ipanema Sugarloaf, Cristo…just everywhere you look it’s incredible.
“And I also think what’s been so amazing is just how warm all the Brazilian people are. Coming from the US and hearing all the negative media, I didn’t know what to expect. I was told to be so careful because of the crime and all of that, and I’ve come here and it’s been a completely different experience. Everybody is so welcoming and warm.”
Another highlight has been the Brazilian food and drink, especially the popular Brazilian cocktail caipirinha.
“(It’s) my new favourite drink, although it’s a little dangerous. My favourite version is lime, mint and ginger or I’ll go for a Sicilian lemon and ginger. Those are my two favourites,” she said.
“Everything is so fresh – the fruits and vegetables. I love a lot of fruit and vegetables so every morning I load my plate up with pineapple, mango, passionfruit. It’s been amazing. Oh, but we also did a Brazilian steakhouse one night – we had to do that – and it was the best steak ever.”