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Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Purdy gets second on 'Dancing with the Stars'

By Colin Bane
XGames.com

Ten weeks ago, adaptive snowboarder Amy Purdy left Sochi, Russia, with a bronze medal around her neck from snowboarding's debut at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, and she headed straight for her next challenge as an inspiring contender for the Mirror Ball trophy on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

On Tuesday night, after scoring a round of perfect 10s from the judges for their final performance, Purdy, a double amputee, and five-time DWTS champion Derek Hough finished second behind 2014 Olympic ice dancing gold medalist Meryl Davis and show veteran Maks Chmerkovskiy.

Ballroom dancing on prosthetics presented an entirely new set of obstacles for Purdy, who had both of her legs amputated below the knee 15 years ago after a near-fatal bout with bacterial meningitis. She has since led the charge for adaptive snowboarders and other athletes through her nonprofit Adaptive Action Sports.

She received help from Hough as her coach and partner for the show's 18th season, and she utilized a range of prosthetic feet developed by longtime sponsor Freedom Innovations to meet the different demands of various styles of ballroom dancing.

Amy Purdy and partner Derek Hough placed second in the "Dancing with the Stars" finale this week.

"It's been the most transformative and amazing experience of my life," Purdy told XGames.com on Tuesday. "I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to discover and showcase my talents."

Purdy and Hough impressed fans and judges alike throughout the season, ultimately advancing to Tuesday's finale after a high-flying freestyle dance performance featuring aerial acrobatics on Monday night's show.

"It's just about getting out there and getting out of your comfort zone, trying something new, trying something that you never thought you could do," Purdy told the show's co-host Erin Andrews after Monday's performance. "If you work hard enough and you're passionate enough, I think anything's possible."

The final results were based on a combination of judges' scores and fan voting. For Purdy and Hough, making it to the finale and finishing behind the likes of Davis and Chmerkovskiy was its own victory.

"I'm so unbelievably proud," Hough said. "You know, this is so much more -- for me at least, this experience -- than a dance show, and I really admire being a part of a show like this that gives someone like Amy an opportunity to discover something like this."

Next up for Purdy? After taking some time off for a brief summer vacation to celebrate, she plans to return her focus to snowboarding, with several new events to train for; in April, the International Paralympic Committee announced that it will be adding head-to-head snowboardcross racing and banked slalom events to its program before the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Purdy and her Adaptive Action Sports organization were instrumental in bringing snowboarding to the Paralympics in the first place and had been actively lobbying to add the new disciplines prior to the announcement.