And one athlete who will be marching under the stars and stripes in Friday's opening ceremony is Springfield's own Emily Scott.
KOLR 10's Megan Rice tells us her story that started right here in the Ozarks.
This February, Missouri's very own, Springfield's very own, Hillcrest's very own, Emily Scott will be competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"You work so hard for this moment this one moment and I've been working twenty years to get here to make it to the Olympics. All the blood, sweat, and tears that you put into it, it makes it all worth it," said Olympic speed skater Emily Scott.
Emily will be competing for the U.S. In the 500, 1000, and 1500 meter short track speed skating events.
"I always knew she would become an Olympian someday just because of the fact how hard she worked at it all her life," said Craig Scott.
Megan Rice/KOLR 10 Sports: "Emily actually got her start at skateport as an inline skater, where she eventually become a 5-time inline world champion. But, then in 2008 she made the difficult transition from inline to ice."
"I knew I wanted to go to the Olympics and inline wasn't in the Olympics so I did the next best thing and thought I would choose a sport that was similar to inline skating and that was short track speed skating," said Emily Scott.
And at the U.S. Olympic trials, the Scott family was surprised that her dream came true.
"Actually I didn't know I made the team after one of the distances. As soon as I found out I just found my Dad in the stands."
Craig Scott: "All the sudden I look and I see her running up through the isle way headed towards me with her skates in her hands and her helmet. She run up there to me crying."
"Went and gave him a hug and cried a bit together."
"She said to me Dad, I made it finally. Like I say, best day of my life."
And all of this nearly dind't happen becuase her performance-based funding was cut after last season.
"I mean we support ourselves out here so I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to survive out here. I thought my career was over and my dream was over," said Emily Scott.
From there she decided to set up a donation website called gofundme. And raised around $48,000 dollars to help keep her training and dream alive.
"Complete strangers honestly saved my career and they have become like a family to me."
And that's not the only time a site would grant the speed skaters wish.
A second site called rally me raised enough money to send her father to Sochi to watch her compete.
"It would mean the world to me to have him there."
"What do you think is going to be going through your mind when you're sitting in the seat, flags flying everywhere and you see her step out onto the ice?"
"I'd hope I could keep from busting out and balling to be honest with you," said Craig Scott.
For Emily the last few months have been surreal.
"I think walking into the opening ceremonies and representing my county... it will all hit me."
Emily scott, a symbol for a country, a town, and a dream... The true meaning of the olympic games.
Megan Rice, Kolr 10 sports, Springfield.
We'll keep track of Emily Scott in Sochi, her first set of heats are February tenth.
Another Olympian with Springfield ties is figure skater Gracie Gold.
She learned how to figure skate at Mediacom ice park before moving to Illinois in middle school.
We'll also have reports from Sochi and the Olympics starting Wednesday and going through the Olympics.
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