Loading

60°F

56°F

62°F

59°F

57°F

62°F

60°F

59°F

58°F

60°F

62°F

58°F
Search
NEWS STORIES

Wisconsin contributes to successful Olympic speed skaters Submitted: 02/10/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray


WEST ALLIS - Winter Olympics history tells us Americans can fly on ice.

Our nation's speed skaters have won more Olympic gold medals than skaters for
any other country.

Wisconsin plays a big part in this success story.

Newswatch 12's Shardaa Gray takes us to West Allis where the Spirit of the North
has driven speed skaters for decades.

"It hasn't really hit me yet, but once I'm there and getting into it and being
with the team; it will start to sink in." said America's youngest speed skater,
Emery Lehman.

17 year old Emery Lehman from Illinois is the youngest U.S. Olympic speed skater
this year.

90 years ago a young speed skater named Charles Jewtraw was the first person
ever to win a gold medal in the very first Winter Olympics.

Jewtraw won the 500 meter event in 1924 in Chamonix, France.

Emery isn't sure if he'll make history like Jewtraw, but he does have high hopes.

"My goals are probably to finish between 15th and 10th in the 5K," Emery said.

"Then 10K, only 16 skaters; probably I'm going in ranked like 16th. So anything
better than last at this point."

Before leaving for Sochi, Lehman trained at the Pettit National Ice Center in
West Allis.

He has been training there since he was 14 years old.

They've trained Olympians since 1992, after it was reconstructed to become an
indoor facility.

"The impetus behind it was to create an Olympic training site. So it had to open
by the end of 1992 for political reasons within the US speed skating," said
Pettit Ice Center Executive Director, Randy Dean.

"The USOOC had to be open by the end of 1992 to be an official US Olympic
training site."

The Pettit Center replaced the outdoor 24 year old Wisconsin Olympic Ice Rink.

"It was right here in this very site; almost not the exact place where the oval
is today, but very close. They'd tell stories of the salt blowing off the
expressway, the headwinds and how cold it was," Dean said.

"There wasn't any enclosed oval in the United States. So people got together
here and raised some money, got some help from the state and built the Pettit
Center here for about 14 million dollars."

85 speed skating medals have been won by American Olympians going into Sochi Games.

Out of that number, 70 medals were won by Olympians that trained or based at the
Pettit Center.

Emery's mom remembers when he first put on speed skating skates.

"They loaned him a pair of boats, he got on the ice, he looked at me I was
standing on the bleachers, kind of shrugged his shoulders looked down at his
boots and started to skate and he fell in love with it." said Emery's mother,
Marcia Lehman.

"He just had that intangible quality that you can see in some kids. It's like
you can't really teach it. Once you see it's there to be developed." Emery's
coach, Jeff Klaiber said.

"It's definitely paid off now. Traveling's a lot of fun and competing is a lot
of fun. It's all worth it in the end," said Emery.

"Especially because I love it, it's a lot easier. It's probably a lot harder for
my mom and dad who put in just as much dedication as I did, but they don't get
to travel as much."

Emery raced Friday; finishing 16th out of 26 races in the men's 5,000 meters,
the best finish by an American.

The 10K comes next Tuesday.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Too many times, Minocqua-area fishing guide Greg Bohn has heard the stories of tragedy.

A parent on Wisconsin waters jumps in to try to rescue their child, who is in the water without a life jacket. But the parent, also not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), drowns, even if the child survives.

It happened in July on Shawano Lake in Shawano County, and on Minocqua Lake a few years ago.

"Accidents can happen in seconds, and there's total chaos and emergency," Bohn says while touring Minocqua Lake on his fishing boat.

+ Read More

MERRILL - A local technical college wants to make sure first responders get all the training they need.

That's why NTC in Merrill wanted a rail car.

First responders can use the car to learn how to handle derailments and crashes.

NTC leaders think Merrill is a good place for the rail car.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Prosecutors want to prove a Stevens Point man put many people in danger by allegedly taking part in a shootout last month.

Brian Fisher, 35, was in court Thursday. He faces multiple felony counts of recklessly endangering safety and one count of having a gun as a convicted felon.

Police say Fisher shot his gun at 36-year-old Morgan Sykes on July 8th at It's Our Clubhouse bar. They say they used video from a surveillance camera to identify Fisher in the shooting.

+ Read More

Play Video

ROANOKE, VA - A former colleague killed a reporter and photographer on live television in Virginia Wednesday. 

Reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were killed.

Police say a former reporter Vester Flanagan killed them.

Vicki Gardner, the woman being interviewed was hurt.

+ Read More

MERRILL - A new first aid kit will help Merrill's K-9 unit stay safe.

It was a donation, and all they needed to do was post a picture on Facebook.

The kit was donated through the We Ride to Provide organization.

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - You may know the derby track in Eagle River for its snowmobiling championships every winter. This weekend it welcomes some different outdoor vehicles.

On Friday, the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack will host its first World Championship UTV & ATV Derby.

Derbytrack workers said it took about 300 truck loads of dirt and sand to get this track ready.

The weekend will be a lot like the snowmobile derby with qualifiers, final rounds and a championship race.

+ Read More

GREEN BAY - Two people have been found dead inside a vehicle that apparently crashed into a Green Bay tire shop, which was destroyed by fire.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here