Mari-Rae Sopper wasn't scared of tall odds.
As a student at Palatine's Fremd High School in the 1980s, she led the girls gymnastics team from doormat to perennial state power. She planned a similar turnaround at the University of California, Santa Barbara, chucking a Washington law career to take the head coaching job even though the program was slated for elimination.
Sopper, 35, was on her way to the school when her plane crashed into the Pentagon.
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.