Olympian Kellie Wells has spent her life overcoming hurdles -- in both literal and heartbreakingly figurative ways.
"I know my story is very common to a lot of people, and it's swept under the rug a lot," Wells told The Telegraph. "If I can help at least one person and show you don't have to be a product of your environment, you don't have to keep secrets, and you don't have to hide, that would be amazing."
Wells first shared her story after a torn hamstring prevented her from participating in the Beijing Games.
She detailed her childhood in a blog post -- explaining that her stepfather perpetually abused her in her own home -- and Wells ultimately revealed in an interview that, when she was 16-years-old, the abuse escalated to rape.
"It took a lot of courage," she recalls. "I knew it would have a big impact but I just thought of the 'little me.' There are a lot of 'little mes' that look up to me now."
Wells had long utilized track as an escape. She explains in an interview with NBC that long practices were a refuge from what awaited at home. After her mother proved unreceptive to her plea for help, Wells packed up and left -- only to hear one month later that both her mother and her rapist had been killed in a car accident.
But Wells persevered.
"If I could save one person's life, help them get out of a terrible situation, to save themselves or to save their children, then my whole life, my whole career, is very much worth while," she said.