A metro Detroit speed skater has earned her ticket to Sochi Russia to compete for Team USA.
Kelly Gunther qualified in the 1,000 meters in long track speed skating.
Gunther, who attended Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township, will be back in metro Detroit Thursday.
Family and friends are holding a fundraiser for her Thursday to help cover costs.
The Olympic athlete got her start roller-skating when she was six years old. She went on to inline speed skating and did that for 10 years.
In an attempt to fulfill her childhood dreams of competing in the Olympics, Gunther switched to long track speed skating about five years ago. She joined the U.S. National Long Track Program in 2009.
Gunther qualified for the 2010 Winter Games to compete in Vancouver, Canada, but a ruling took her off the US team.
Shortly after that in 2010, she suffered a critical injury to her ankle while racing in the American Cup series at the Utah Olympic Oval. The injury could have kept her off the ice, but with surgery and rehabilitation, Gunther has been able to see her Olympic dream come back alive in 2014. In fact, she was back competing in 2011.
To help with the costs to compete in the Olympics and to help her mother travel to Sochi Russia as well, a pasta fundraiser will be held at the Mirage Banquet Center at 16980 18 Mile Road in Clinton Township.
It runs from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday January 9. The cost is $10 for all you can eat pasta, salad and rolls.
Gunther will be in town and will attend the event.
The owner of the Mirage, John DiGiuseppe, is donating the costs of the meal to help with the fundraiser.
There is also a separate fundraising page available at Rallyme.com.
The Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi Russia from Feb. 7 until Feb. 23.
Gunther is one of three metro Detroiters who will compete in speed skating in the Winter Olympics. Jessica Smith of Melvindale will compete in three events for women's short track, the 500 meter, 1000 meter and 1500 meter and Jilleanne Rookard of Woodhaven will compete in the 3000 meter in long track speed skating.