SPRINGFIELD, Mo, - Olympic speed skater Emily Scott is only a heartbeat away from living out her dream. The Springfield, Mo., native will compete in the 500, 1000 and 1500 meter races.
"I knew at a young age that I wanted to represent my country, and I wanted to represent the United States of America," Emily said.
But the 24-year-old's tough journey to Sochi was not always paved in gold and didn't start on ice.
Emily started her career at a roller skating rink at the age of three, when her father, Craig Scott, took Emily and her older sister to Skateport in Springfield.
"I actually took them to another skating rink and asked the guys if they could join the speed team, and he said the older one can but the little one is too small. It broke her heart, so then I brought her over her to Skateport," Craig said.
With a little help from Skateport owner Ted Hall, Emily learned how to skate.
"She was too cute of a little girl not to fall in love with. I actually held her hands, she couldn't even stand up," Hall said.
Emily not only stood up, but also stood out. Her determination paid off and she won a handful of inline skating championships.
"She didn't like getting beat. If she was 5-year-olds and the 10-year-olds were beating, her she didn't like it."
Emily had a tough fight off the rink as well. While Emily's mother was in and out of jail for drug-related charges, her father lived paycheck to paycheck to support Emily's dream.
"I was having to work a lot of overtime to pay for the skates and the gas and the motels," Craig said.
Emily's dream got much more costly when she switched to ice after high school in hopes of earning Olympic gold.
"I always told her, ‘if you're going to go to this level of skating, then you've got to put out to make it worth our while to go and do this,'" Craig said.
"Honestly, he's my idol," said Emily Scott, "He's just an amazing man and I'm so thankful.
Craig also served as Emily's rock when she was forced to put down her skates forever after losses on the ice turned into dropped funding.
"She actually called me crying and said, ‘Dad, I don't know what I'm going to do,' and I said, ‘Well things always seem to work out for us. I said we'll figure something out,'" Craig said.
Emily figured out that she had to reach beyond her family for support. She created a crowd-funding website to raise money for training.
"Complete strangers donated to me and believed in me and my talent and have followed my journey throughout the rough times," Emily said.
"I told her, I said, ‘the only way you can repay these people is to make the Olympic team,' " Craig said.
She raised nearly $50,000. It was enough money to pick up her skates again and glide to Sochi.
"Nobody can ever take away the fact that I'm an Olympian now. I wanted to give up, and he didn't want me to have any regrets, and I'm going to the Olympics and I don't have any regrets, "said Emily.
Emily's father also started a crowd-funding website and raised enough money to fly to Sochi to see his daughter compete.