One Year To Paralympics (3/11/13)
I saw this quote on a window at the Denver airport. It spoke true to me today.
I jumped on an airplane from Denver to Boston and headed to a sponsor’s event to celebrate one-year out until the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and I have to say that all of this seems so surreal. The fact that I even have sponsors to celebrate with – not that I feel that I don’t deserve them, but that all of this is actually happening! Snowboarding is an official Paralympic sport and I, Amy Purdy, have supporters who believe in me and my dream enough to support me to get there, a blessing that I am still wrapping my head around. The second surreal part is that I am well on the path to compete in the Games … to not just compete but to represent a new sport. That is, if I continue to stay healthy and ride strong and make the U.S. team as I am currently training to do. Adaptive snowboarding may be a new sport for the Paralympic community but not a new one for me.I was passionate about snowboarding before ever knowing what the Paralympic Games were. The reason for this is that I fell in love with the sport when I had legs – legs of flesh and bone. I was 15 years old and I knew from the day I stood on a board, that it would be a part of my life forever, I just had no idea I would go on to do it in this way.
After losing both of my legs suddenly to Septic shock from a random case of Bacterial Meningitis at 19 years old, I was told I may never snowboard again. The doctors told me to focus on walking before thinking about snowboarding again. Not an easy task for a chronic daydreamer! I would daydream about carving down a mountain of powder, feeling the wind against my face and feeling the strength of my body. I knew in my heart, no matter what any doctors said, that I would do it again. Snowboarding became my drive, my inspiration and my motivation to get healthy and to move forward with my life.
I remember, not long after leaving the hospital, my prosthetist mentioned that snowboarding was not yet in the Paralympic Games, and my first thought was if it ever were, then I would be there representing my country. From that point forward I put all my creative energy into learning to snowboard again, not with the goal of being a Paralympian but with the goal of doing what I love, feeling alive again and being with my friends. From that desire, I progressed. I went on to race in USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association) regional and national competitions and I promoted adaptive snowboarding in any venue I could.
I went on to win three back-to-back World Cup gold medals, and now, here I sit 12 years later and one-year out to the 2014 Paralympic Games, headed to an event to represent the sport and the sponsors helping my vision come true. I feel blessed, honored and more motivated than ever to make this dream of mine a reality. Life is amazing.