COMMS 416 – 1st Group A Assignment – Amy – Fight for the Few
Amy has been swimming on a team since she was 10 years old. She’s competed in the Pan-American Games in Mexico, and she swam in the Olympic trials for London and Rio. Oh yeah, and Amy walks on a pair of prosthetic legs.
But if you ask her, that fact isn’t something to dwell on.
“I’m just a normal person,” Amy says. “It doesn’t seem like a difference to me.”
Amy was born in Salt Lake with fibular hemimelia. She had no fibula bones in her legs. She did have a partial tibia, fused toe bones, and a heel pad. When Amy was 13 months old, she had amputations to remove the partially formed bones and place her heel pad on her stump to create a surface for walking. Eventually, Amy got prosthetic legs.
“Within a week I was up walking again,” Amy says. “I would chase my brothers around.”
Amy lived in Chicago, Arkansas, and Lehi, Utah, before starting school at Brigham Young University. She is a junior studying P.E. teaching, and she wants to teach adaptive P.E.
“I eventually want to work with athletes with disabilities,” Amy says. “I want to level the playing field.”
Amy is currently a swim coach at Timp View High School. Her first swim team experience was in Arkansas, when she was 10 years old. She decided to join a friend who was trying out for a team at the local pool. Amy made the team, and that was the start of her swim career. Amy uses special fins when she swims that go over her shins. She said these fins were made for scuba divers.
“My mom was a swimmer at BYU, so we practically lived at the pool when we were little,” Amy says.
When Amy’s family moved back to Chicago, she was placed on a higher level team, and her race times earned her a spot at National trials.
“I was just a spellbound 12 year old,” Amy says. “I thought it was the coolest thing.”
In 2011, Amy swam in the Pan-American Games in Mexico. She trained for six months until the trials for the Olympic Games in London, and just missed the team by two people.
Amy served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Long Beach, California.
Halfway through her mission, Amy’s prosthetic legs broke, so she was in a wheelchair for a month and a half.
“Everyone was so worried about how I’d get around, but we just made it work,” Amy says. “We figured out a way, and it was kind of perfect.”
Amy laughed as she remembered how she and her companions made it through that speed bump.
“People came up to us to ask about my legs rather than us going up to them,” Amy says. “I definitely think that’s something that doesn’t happen to most missionaries.”
After Amy served her mission, she trained for the Rio Paralympic tryouts, but missed the team.
“I think I’m done for a little while,” Amy says.
Even though Amy has made incredible strides as a swimmer, a missionary, and a college student despite her physical differences, she thinks people shouldn’t look at her any differently.
“We all have different, unique things about us,” Amy says.”I’m just a kid going to college. People always tell me, ‘Oh, you’re such an inspiration,’ but I’m just doing what everyone else is doing.”