For former competitive, Olympic-level vaulter Amy Linnen, sports have always been a part of her DNA. Having begun gymnastics at the age of four, Amy’s parents always supported and fostered her aptitude for athletics. The pinnacle of her athletic career was being ranked 4th in the world in the pole vault, but then her priorities changed.
“At a certain point, it’s enough about yourself, your goals and dreams and now you’re really wanting to help inspire others to achieve their goals and their dreams,” said Amy.
Amy initially discovered stand up paddle boarding while training for a pole-vaulting competition in Hawaii. As a Long Island native, she had always loved being near the ocean and was seeking a fun way to stay physically fit after her career as a pole-vaulter ended. She felt she had lost her sense of purpose after retiring from her sport and felt paddle boarding would be the perfect outlet to challenge her mind and body once again.
When she learned of the inaugural Hampton’s Paddle & Party for Pink in August 2012, she decided to sign up for her first-ever official race. The paddle board community welcomed Amy with open arms.
“I think the paddle community is such a strong, determined group…I’m just so happy to be a part of that because they never give up. That’s been my motto throughout life,” said Amy.
Two days before the 2016 Paddle for Pink event, Amy and her family discovered that her mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer.
“Cancer is cancer no matter where you get it. It’s a horrible disease and I never expected it to affect my own family, I was scared that day when we got the news. All I wanted to know was how can I help? What can I do?” said Amy.
The Hamptons Paddle & Party for Pink developed a more significant meaning to her that summer. As a result, Amy won the 3-mile race category for the first time in honor of her mother.
“I felt helpless and I hadn’t signed up for the Paddle for Pink yet and I thought okay, well maybe I can do this and it will be in her honor. This will be for her.”
This year, Amy will be fundraising for Hampton’s Paddle & Party for Pink with Dune Deck, a resort in Westhampton, to raise money for BCRF.
“When people come together anything is possible and I think that [this community] has proven that over the years. I’ve never given up and I’m not going to give up now, I’m ready to reach out and help inspire other people.”
Amy is proud to report that this summer her mother is in good heath. Her mother and father will be present on Saturday, August 5 when Amy takes on the paddle race in the name of research.