SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Emily Scott's dad made it through strange airports in far-flung countries to watch her skate in short track at the Winter Olympics. Her mom, if she's lucky, may get to watch her on TV in prison.
The 24-year-old former inline skater from Springfield, Mo., got to Sochi thanks to emotional support from her father and financial help from a crowd-funding website while her mom is serving a 12-year sentence for drug trafficking.
Scott was forced to apply for food stamps after her monthly stipend from U.S. Speedskating was cut from $1,950 to $600. Enough strangers touched by her story responded and she raised more than $48,000.
Scott used a portion of the money to help pay for her father's plane ticket and housing in Sochi. Relatives pitched in money, too.
Craig Scott's has been the main voice in Emily's life since third grade, when her mother went to prison the first time for methamphetamine manufacturing and trafficking.
"She was addicted to drugs by the time she was 13," Emily said. "Where we're from, we're one of the biggest meth capitals of the U.S. in Missouri. She just has no way out."
Carol Scott served two years, but couldn't turn her life around and landed behind bars again, this time with Emily's half-sister, Telisha, who is 12 years older than her.
"It kind of made me wonder why we couldn't be a priority for her," Emily said of her mother.
At that point, Craig Scott brought Emily and her other sister who is six years older to live with him, although he knew little about raising young girls.
Eventually, Craig figured out how to be both father and mother, fixing Emily's blond ponytail just the way she liked it. Even today, he'll go shopping with her and help choose outfits.
"He definitely filled that role perfectly," she said. "I'm fortunate enough that I did have my father. I don't ever feel like I had a void."
Carol Scott is currently serving her sentence at Chillicothe (Mo.) Correctional Center.
"I'm kind of comfortable with her being there," Emily said, relieved that her mother is no longer homeless or hungry. "It's unfortunate that we don't get to see her, but at least I know that she's safe."
Her dad was out of his element journeying to Russia.