Mari-Rae Sopper knew what she wanted to be since she was ten-years-old, when she watched Nadia Comãneci score that “perfect ten” at the Montreal Olympics. She wanted to be a professional gymnast. So she made a plan.
Driven by excellence and determination, “Mari-Rae put Fremd on the map,” according to Larry Petrillo, her high school coach. She moved on to be a formidable opponent in college gymnasts at Iowa State University and an impressive defense attorney for the Navy JAG core.
Within Her Grasp chronicles Mari-Rae’s journey to reach her dream while battling emotional issues that soared her to the skies and plunged her into the depths of despair, drove her to veer from her plan, but never from her dream.
“A beautiful thing about Mari-Rae was that she did more than get upset when she saw injustice – she acted on many of her convictions. She had an undying belief in doing the right thing, regardless of mainstream thinking.” Jennifer Eichenmueller
“Mari-Rae was known for a dramatic flair. Her letters were no postcards – five pages front and back, hand-written and smeared because she was a lefty. They were her manifestos, read and re-read with notes in the margins, until they were perfect, because she wanted you to know exactly where she stood. And that’s what we could count on, her honest opinion.” Dave Eck
“She lived her life basically like she wasn’t going to be here tomorrow. If she believed in something, she went all the way, and I think if more people did that, they’d be happier.” Mari-Rae’s mother, Marion Kminek