Judy Winter Image 2014

Kudos to Meryl Davis and Amy Purdy-Dancing with the Stars 2014!

Meryl Davis (has dyslexia) and Amy Purdy (double amputee) took first and second place last night on the finale of Dancing with the Stars.

Both women have worked incredibly hard to overcome some big challenges and achieve impressive success. Both are mucho talented, beautiful and gracious, and Amy just made ground-breaking history.

I’ve been doing this special-needs-advocacy work a long, long time. I began at a time when few if any even people talked about the potential of this population, much less looked beyond disability to showcase individual talents.

This is a big deal.

Today, my special needs advocacy heart is overflowing.

Two remarkable women. Two Olympic champions. Two great dancers. Two stellar role models for young women everywhere. No tables thrown. No fighting. No profanity. No embarrassment.

Just class and talent and dignity and ability showcased in all its glory on live television. 

Long overdue.

There is no runner-up status here. Both women were/are spectacular.

The ladie’s partners were pretty darn sweet, too. 

Special shout out to Derek Hough. The way he approached this unfamiliar special-needs situation showed rare class, professionalism and total commitment to learning something brand new and out of his comfort zone.

I love that he didn’t handle Amy with disability kid gloves or turn her into a DWTS mascot.

He looked beyond the obvious to challenge this incredibly talented and spirited young Paralympian, helping her achieve her full dancing potential, and then some.

Paid off in dancing spades.

Hough was willing to take a chance on himself, too. And let’s not forget his incredible talent as a choreographer/dancer.

I’ve no doubt Derek Hough is a better person today because of this remarkable experience.

We all are.

Best season of Dancing with the Stars, ever!!

Thank you for the thrill ride and the media-worthy example. This was about so much more than grabbing a glittery trophy.

Pure class, and focused on ability.