Olympics dad gives up opening ceremony ticket for Kloser family
Kasey Goepper, sister of Olympic athlete and Lawrenceburg, Indiana native Nick Goepper, is guest blogging for WTHR as her family cheers on Nick in Sochi, Russia. This is her latest entry.
SOCHI, RUSSIA - Last night my mom, sister, little brother and I all got to go to the 2014 Sochi Olympic opening ceremony! My dad also had a ticket to go, but gave it to another P&G family that did not have tickets to the ceremony. Their daughter, Heidi Kloser, is part of the USA Olympic moguls team, but got injured during practice and is no longer able to compete.
It was about a 40-minute walk from the front of Olympic park to the opening ceremony building. Finding our seats was actually surprisingly easy and the seats were awesome! From where we were, you had a great view of everything that happened! As they were announcing the teams I noticed that the three teams that got the most amount of cheers were USA, Russia, and JAMAICA!!
When we watched the US Team walk out, it was beyond amazing! It was unreal that my brother was a part of that group.
The family that my dad offered his ticket to sat right in front of us. When their daughter walked out, they noticed that she had chosen not to ride in the wheelchair, but was on crutches instead. As soon as the mom saw her daughter, she broke down and cried. When I saw that it hit me, it was an amazing feeling to know that my dad had changed their lives. To know that we had helped their family with that experience was unexplainable!
More from NBC News:
It had been a good ski season for Heidi Kloser, who came in second at Lake Placid and fourth in World Cup overall.
She'd first imagined going to the Olympics when she was just three years old, and now it was happening. But on Thursday, just seconds into her moguls warmup, she had a terrible crash.
As Heidi was carried off the mountain, she says she knew the games were over for her before they began.
With the innocence of a young girl who'd wanted to represent her country for so long, she asked her parents, "Am I still an Olympian?"
Her dad's posting on Facebook brought a deluge of support, all echoing Mike Kloser's answer to his daughter. "We said, 'of course you are."
Heidi had broken her right leg, but wanted to walk in the opening ceremony. Her father had reservations about her plan, but she was determined.
So after a ride into the stadium in a wheelchair, when Team USA was announced, Heidi got up, grabbed her crutches, and took in the Olympic experience.
"It was great," she said.
On and off the slopes, life is full of twists and turns, and there's a moral to Heidi's story: champions aren't just people who win medals.
Heidi says she hopes she doesn't have to return home to Colorado right away for rehab or more treatment. She'd rather stay in Sochi - to cheer on her teammates.