For those familiar with Amy Purdy and her story, her success on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars should come as no surprise. Purdy hasn’t just been overcoming obstacles since the double amputation of both her legs at age 19 – she’s been plowing right through them as if they never existed in the first place.

If you’re unfamiliar with her, she’s certainly going to be someone you want to know. After contracting what she thought was the flu at age 19, she found herself growing rapidly sicker, and within a day she was rushed to the hospital after developing septic shock. She soon went into a coma that would last for three weeks. Doctors finally learned that she had the bacterial infection neisseria meningitidis attacking her circulatory system, eventually causing multiple organ failures and resulting in the removal of her spleen and amputation of both her legs below the knee. Doctors at said that at the time, she had less than a 2% chance of survival. She later told ABC News, “I remember thinking, this is so surreal. This is so crazy. I thought, ‘This is what it feels like to die.”

Amy Purdy

Of course, she didn’t die, and in fact she was back on a snowboard (her sport of choice before falling ill) only seven months after her amputation. A year after the amputation she had returned to the snowboarding circuit, competing thanks to the support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Inspired by the support of the CAF, Amy decided to start her own organization for disabled athletes in 2005 called Adaptive Action Sports.

You would think that running a non-profit, working as a massage therapist, and a CAF spokesperson would be enough to keep anyone busy, but not Amy. She continued to snowboard competitively while pursuing other passions including acting and modeling. She even appeared in a music video for Madonna after the singer heard her inspiring story. To top it all off, Amy just brought home a bronze medal from the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.

Amy Purdy Dancing with the Stars

Now Amy is tackling another project: dancing. Never one to back down from a challenge, she and her partner Derek Hough were rehearsing even while she was in Sochi, and the duo flew directly from Russia to L.A. the day before the first show. Anyone would have been exhausted, jet lagged, and wanting to simply crawl into bed, but not Amy – she dazzled on the dancefloor doing a cha-cha that brought judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears and landed her an impressive score of 24/30.

 She also pulled off another stellar performance during week two, after surviving a double elimination at the beginning of the show. While she was slightly concerned during rehearsals for her swing, she said, “It’s a pretty funny thought to think that my legs could potentially fly off.” Well, it’s a miracle they didn’t with all of the high intensity kicks, splits, flips, and jumps in her and Hough’s dance. Perhaps ironically, the only slip up in the dance was a missed arm motion. The performance ended with Amy doing the splits as the audience gave her a standing ovation. The judges were impressed as well, giving her a score of 24 out of 30 and putting her in the top five for the night.

Yet, amazingly, in week three Amy did even better with her contemporary dance which she told the L.A. Times was about “giving gratitude to my family and my dad for their support through my toughest time.” Clearly her inner passion came through and she landed a 9/10 score from each judge, giving her 27/30 her personal best so far. Those who haven’t seen Amy’s performances yet this season can catch them through many video-on-demand services, ABC Go, the ABC Player App or on demand through your DirecTV receiver or DVR.

For Amy’s fans, her success on the show comes as no surprise, she’s been defying expectations for quite a few years now. But for those of us who hadn’t heard of her before, who didn’t know her story, it’s a truly awesome story of perseverance and dedication. Amy can teach all of us, athletes or not, that only you set your own limitations, no one else.

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Gone are the days of ‘shrink it and pink it’ for female fan apparel – Prep Sportswear launched their new feminine Sparkle Twill line for schools and sports! Moms, elementary kids, tweens, teens and beyond will love this sassy new look while rooting for their favorite team! We were sent two items from this new line to review and my daughter chose a traditional looking baseball shirt and a more trendy slouch sweatshirt.

PrepSportswear Sparkle Twill

Sparkle Twill™ is an appliqué technique that adds a vibrant sparkle finish to an assortment of t-shirts, jerseys and other apparel. This eye-catching design comes in a large array of styles, colors and sizes featuring your favorite school, sport, number or team name. The first time she wore this shirt, she had other students and teachers stopping her in the hall wanting to know if the school store carried that shirt or where they could get it. The fact is that while the school store doesn’t carry the Sparkle Twill line from Prep Sportswear yet, they really need to be – they would sell so much more!

PrepSportswear Sparkle Twill

This is a closer photo of the Sparkle Twill – you can really get a good look at the quality. The bling in part of the fabric – no glitter shedding everywhere, no fading and no peeling off. The letters are embroidered on for an even nicer finish.

PrepSportswear Sparkle Twill

The Prep Sportswear slouch sweatshirt has become her favorite! She wears it to school, to dance, to workout and to just lounge around the house!

If you are looking for Spirit Wear that is 100% customizable to be just your style, check out Prep Sportswear!  They literally have something for everyone – in every school, organization, group, team – you name it!!

Who says it has to be pink to be girly?


Categories : Gear
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Guest post by Kate Voss

US Bobsled Team

The road to Olympic victory is not an easy or painless journey. However, for some athletes who found defeat in one Olympic sport, including former track stars Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams, an alternative route for Olympic success has been discovered: the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic bobsled team. 

After both immersed themselves in track and field Olympic careers, totaling five Summer games between the two, both decided to make the switch into bobsled, and it seems their hard work and tough transition has paid off. It was recently announced on Jan. 19 that both women have been chosen to be a part of the U.S. women’s bobsled team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Jones describes representing Team USA in the bobsled race as, “The biggest honor I’ll ever have in my life…I’m overwhelmed with emotions.”

Both Jones and Williams had arduous journeys to the bobsled team. Lola Jones had a tough childhood; she grew up in the basement of a Salvation Army where her father taught her how to shoplift at a young age. Yet, she still pushed through her troublesome upbringing and qualified for the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008.

However, her former track career was one filled with heartbreak. While competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics, she led the 100-meter race up until the second-to-last hurdle, where she stumbled and finished in seventh place. Then, during the 2012 London Olympics, she finished fourth in the 100m hurdles, a tenth of a second away from winning a medal. It was after the London Olympics that she took up bobsled, after the U.S. bobsled team coach, Todd Hays, invited her to a one-day bobsled trial to boost the team’s morale. In order for Jones to compete, she had to put on 30 pounds of muscle in order to gain the power needed to be a push athlete for the bobsled team.

Lauryn Williams also had disappointments along the road to the US bobsled team. She won the Olympic silver for the 100m in 2004, competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and then won gold in the 4x100m relay in the 2012 London Olympics, but then was forced to retire from track and field in 2013 from a leg injury. It was after talking with her teammate, Lola Jones (who already had one season on the bobsled team under her belt) that Williams decided to make the transition into the Olympic sport of bobsleigh, a mere six months after believing she would have to retire from professional athletics altogether.

“I had no idea what was in store for me this season,” Williams said, “I just wanted to come in with positive energy and help out. This is the first time I’ve been a part of a true team sport, and there’s someone else counting on you. You can’t let that person down, and that’s what drives me. It’s very important to give everything I have whenever I’m on that start line.”

Jones and Williams are not the only athletes to switch gears from one sport to another, but they are part of a select group. Only eight other American athletes in Olympic history have ever competed in both the Summer and Winter Games. Some athletes take on another sport because they can’t get enough of the Olympic experience, while others are introduced after being deterred from a summer game. Bobsled teammate Elana Meyers had previously tried out for the US Olympic softball team in 2004 and after a disappointing failure joined the bobsled team to offer her power and determination.

For both Jones and Williams, the U.S. Olympic bobsled team provided an outlet for success, and an opportunity to lift them up from former Olympic defeats. In an interview, Jones discussed how bobsled really lifted her spirit: “They embraced me at one of the lowest points in my life. I was just coming off the Summer Games and I was pretty depressed and they lifted me up and day by day they encouraged me to never give up on this Olympic dream.” 

The two athletes are true inspirations for aspiring and current athletes. They prove that no matter what life or the sports world throws your way, including defeat and injury, if you have passion you can push through, adapt, and find success.

The games will be streamable on NBC, but most games will need a cable or satellite TV credentials. You can also catch up on bobsleigh coverage leading up to the Games through Direct TV’s current offer of a free trial of the Universal Sports channel. Here are some other ways you can view the Winter Olympics, starting on Feb. 7.  

Image credit: CBS Sports

Categories : winter olympics
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