Every start doesn’t begin with a win; in fact, sometimes it’s the perseverance to be able to laugh at the agony of defeat that allows you to reach greater heights. A double amputee and kidney transplant survivor, caused by a severe meningitis infection, started Amy Purdy down a path few could ever imagine. But it wasn’t always the thrill of victory she felt. During her first attempt at snowboarding, her knees and ankles wouldn’t bend and, according to her, she ended up traumatizing all the skiers on the chairlift when she fell and her legs, still attached to her snowboard, went flying down the mountain while she stayed at the top. Although she was very discouraged, she knew she found a new path with the sport. Finding the right pair of legs will be her ticket to gold – she’s hoping that will be the case in Sochi, her first Games.