There's no doubt that Amy's life, optimism and gusto speak to a great degree for all Paralympic competitors and champions, including Steve Cash, Josh Pauls and Taylor Chace in sled hockey; Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen, Oksana Masters and Andy Soule in Nordic skiing; Patrick McDonald in wheelchair curling; Alana Nichols, Danelle Umstead, Stephani Victor and Tyler Walker in Alpine skiing; and Evan Strong and Mike Shea in snowboarding. Even if they hadn't won medals, these inspiring souls would be heroes because of the obstacles they've overcome in life and the model they've set for us all.
Amy has one big final bit of wisdom, particularly for those of us who face what seem to be insurmountable life obstacles. She said: "We all have challenges. You can let them be obstacles or roadblocks, or you can use them. We've all seen that every challenge we've gone through, we've learned something from. It's not getting hung up on the challenges but figuring out how to get ahead. I wouldn't be where I am if I didn't take my situation and run with it. I have two prosthetic legs; this is my life. What am I going to do with it? And it's put me on this amazing journey. I can look back and be completely grateful and say I would never want to change anything. My hopes would be that other people recognize that we all have challenges. From the outside looking in, it might look easy, but people relate to vulnerability and to seeing someone who has had challenges and has overcome."
We certainly do, Amy. We certainly do. And your stellar attitude and example remind us all again that life is not about waiting for the storms to pass but about learning how to dance in the rain.
Speaking of dancing, on Monday night, Amy actually appeared as a dance contestant on the popular television show "Dancing With the Stars."
Congratulations, Amy! And congratulations to all of Team USA's Paralympic champions!
For more information about Amy Purdy, go to her website, at http://amypurdy.com, or watch her nine-minute inspirational speech, "Living beyond limits," at https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_purdy_living_beyond_limits.