Will Amy Purdy Compete at 2022 Paralympics? Snowboarder on Training, Inspiring Younger Athletes
It's only been 10 months since Amy Purdy nabbed two medals at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games but she's already got a plan in place for the next Games
It’s only been 10 months since Amy Purdy nabbed her second and third medals at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea — but she’s already got a plan in place for the next Games.
The snowboarder, 39, told PEOPLE in a December interview that she’s taking some time off to get “back to my roots” but will make a “definite decision” about competing in the 2022 Paralympics this coming summer.
“I still snowboard multiple times a week, I’m still training — but the pressure to compete, the pressure to medal, I’ve taken all of that off of myself this year,” explains Purdy. “This is really the year, the year after the Games, where I take time for myself. I do a lot of work outside of snowboarding.”
Off the snow, Purdy is a motivational speaker and runs a non-profit. “So I’m able to focus on some of these other passions I have, while at the same time I’m still snowboarding for the love of the sport,” she says.
If she will make another push for the Paralympics, Purdy — who suffered bacterial meningitis as a teen and lost her legs below the knee — says that will be her “full-time focus starting next summer.”
Part of her focus now is on partnering with Always and Target on their campaign to support Girls on the Run, a non-profit organization that provides a physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls in grades three through eight.
The former Dancing with the Stars competitor tells PEOPLE that with six nieces, the challenges that young girls face while going through puberty — especially in regard to their confidence levels — hit close to home.
Around the time of her partnership, Purdy says, “I was spending a lot of time with family and realizing … what they go through, going through puberty and trying to find their confidence and where they fit in. And then seeing what Girls on the Run does to help their confidence, it’s an amazing program.”
“So for me, [I wanted to partner because] just obviously being an athlete and realizing how important just physical fitness and getting your endorphins going — just how important that is for your confidence,” she says.
Purdy is also happy to share advice for young athletes hoping to follow in her footsteps — regardless of abilities.
“I don’t think it matters if they have a disability or not, it’s just that if you work hard enough or if you’re passionate enough and you’re willing to pick yourself up and keep on going every single time you fall, that really the possibilities of what you can achieve are endless,” she says.
She adds, “Sport is so amazing whether you have a disability or not, it helps to build your confidence.”
Purdy uses herself as an example, having not become an athlete until she was 30: “Now being in my 30s and realizing how much of an impact athletics have had in my life, I definitely want to be able to share that with others.”