SOCHI, Russia -- Moguls freestyler Heidi Kloser wasn't about to let a broken leg and torn knee ligaments stop her from marching in the opening ceremony at the Olympics.
That's how much the moment meant to the 21-year-old from Vail, Colo. She ended up marching in the parade, on crutches, no less, on Friday. She tweeted a picture of herself, beforehand in Olympic garb, saying: "Excited that I still get to walk!"
Just a day earlier, Kloser's Olympic dream came to an end in heartbreaking fashion as she crashed in a training run and had to pull out of the event not long before qualifying started.
Her father Mike Kloser, a leading figure in the realm of adventure racing, wrote an emotional account of the experience on his Facebook page, shortly after the Klosers returned from the Olympic Village emergency room on Thursday night.
"She was in a lot of pain when we got to see her in the medical room at the base of the course," he wrote. "They loaded her in an ambulance and took her up to the ER for X-rays and an MRI.
"Heidi was in good hands with Dr. Sterett and several other U.S. team doctors. The news isn't good though. She has a partially torn MCL, completely torn ACL, an impact fracture on her femur, and a impact bruise on her tibia plateau.
"Heidi's doing OK, but there's moments when the reality of it all hits home, she's a tough one, but this is a tough one to swallow for all of us! When she was in the ambulance, she asked (her mother) Emily and me if she was still an Olympian.... We said, 'Of course she is!'"