Loading
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

THREE LAKES - Dozens of people gathered at Three Lakes Watersports to waterski today for the third annual Pass the Handle Day.

This worldwide project was started by two legendary wake-boarders.

People of all ages and levels geared up to ski for free.

One of the boats honks as a skier lands in the water. That's the sound of a successful trip around the lake.

Corey Seemann is one of the instructors at Three Lakes Watersports. He knows how important these moments are for kids.

"It's what makes it special," Seemann said. "Seeing people that have never had the opportunity to come out and kind of live their dream, you know, and see some of the kids just have a blast."

Kids of all different ages came out for an action packed day. Some with more experience than others.

"It's just really fun," said 8-year-old Katie Swendson. "Getting out on the water."

She just learned how to get up on one ski.

For some of the skiers, this was their first time skiing on water.

"Nervous, but once I get up I get excited that I'm up," said 10-year-old Blake Slizwski.

One of the youngest skiers was 6-year-old Jack Westfall.

He went out with only one thing in mind.

"I'm here to water ski to get a puppy," Westfall said.

His sister says they've been trying to get him to ski for a long time and puppy was an incentive to get him out there.

"Little does he know, he's getting a stuffed puppy," said his sister, Anna.
 
Stuffed or not, Jack had two successful trips around the lake, along with many other kids.

Three Lakes Watersports is open all summer long.

They hold waterski and wakeboard lessons for skiers of all ages and levels

+ Read More

MERRILL - Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he didn't want to spend too much time at the Republican National Convention last week because he wanted to get back to campaigning in his home state.

The senator from Oshkosh stopped at the Lincoln County Fair on Saturday.

He faces a tight races against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis). 

Johnson gave a speech on Tuesday in Cleveland about national security, as he is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

He seems pleased with the Republican presidential ticket.

"I think it's really complimentary to the skills Donald Trump brings to the table," Johnson said. "You got Donald Trump with the private sector experience. You got Mike Pence with a real record accomplishment both in the House and as the governor of Indiana. I think it's a pretty good pairing."

He said he wouldn't pay too much attention to the speeches at the Democratic National Convention this week.

"They've got their ticket, we've got our ticket," Johnson said. "They'll make a bunch of promises they can't deliver on. And what we're going to focus on is economic growth, strengthen our economy so we can strengthen our military, so we can defeat ISIS and secure our borders." 

+ Read More

Play Video

CRANDON - The first annual Legionnaire Mud Challenge made its way to Crandon Saturday.

The International Off-Road Raceway welcomed nearly 200 participants who were ready to get down and dirty.

Men and women of all ages were brought together by the desire to work up a sweat.

+ Read More

SHAWANO COUNTY - UPDATE 5:13 p.m.--Police say six people, including children, were taken to area hospitals after two sport utility vehicles carrying Boy Scouts crashed in Shawano County.

The accident happened Saturday morning on Highway 29 near Bonduel.

Police say one of the SUVs was towing a trailer with equipment. The driver of that vehicle went off the roadway then overcorrected and lost control. The second SUV hit the first, and both went off the road. The trailer flipped and the second SUV landed partially on top of the first.

Bonduel police Chief Todd Chaney tells the Green Bay Press Gazette that one of the injured, a troop leader, was airlifted to St. Vincent's Hospital in Green Bay with a head injury.

Chaney said he didn't think any of the injuries were life threatening.



+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - We finally did it. We hit 90 degrees Thursday, July 21st, for the first time in almost three years.

+ Read More

MADISON - Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson sees Donald Trump as the big winner at the recently completed Republican National Convention, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the biggest loser.

Thompson spoke to The Associated Press on Friday after attending his 11th national convention. He's been to every one since 1976.

+ Read More

Play Video

CRYSTAL FALLS, L'ANSE - Hunters, biologists, and wildlife watchers worry about the low deer population in northern Wisconsin.

But in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the situation is even worse.

Wildlife biologists say nearly every single fawn died after the harsh winters of 2012 and 2013, further hurting a struggling herd. In fact, the population has been on the decline since 1995.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here