SOCHI, Russia -- They are a couple on a mission, 6,000 miles away from their home in North Carolina.
Ahead of the big hockey matchup between the U.S. and Czech Republic, Sally and Don Miles tried to score tickets. The prices are as steep as nearby mountains.
“There’s a hot scalpers market -- $900 for two, and I don’t’ even know where the seats were,” Don says.
NBC Charlotte’s Dave Wagner first caught up with the rabid hockey fans at a Carolina Hurricanes practice in Raleigh. Four of the team’s players are playing on four different teams in Sochi. The Mileses didn’t make it to the U.S. game but they scored tickets to watch Alexander Semin and Tuomo Ruutu play in the Finland and Russia game.
Ruutu tells Dave he even knows Don and Sally, and sees them around the rink all the time.
Don and Sally were neutral during the game, lost by Russia.
“I didn’t really care who won. I just went for the fun of the game and to listen to the crowd. They’re different,” Sally says.
The trip isn’t easy for the retired couple. They’re walking miles and missing luggage. Fearful of terrorism, Sally nearly stated home. When their hotel lost power this week, she feared the worst. They’re not scared now, though.
“You can have your own personal police. There are so many around. They’re everywhere and it makes me feel secure,” Don says.
The couple loaded up on Sochi souvenirs and wonderful memories. They’re now seventh grade sweethearts who will walk into the city’s sunset, with their flame as much alive as the Olympic torch.
“I’m glad I came. It was an experience,” Sally says of her time in Russia.