Lehman lands in South Korea ready to prove himself

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Emery Lehman finished 21st out of 22 in the 5,000 meter race in his 2018 Winter Olympics debut. (Photo Courtesy: Emery Lehman)

A lot has happened in the past three weeks for Marquette Olympian Emery Lehman since the Long Track Speedskating U.S. Olympic Trials in early January. Most notably, he qualified for his signature race, the men’s 5,000 meters.

“It was fantastic,” Lehman said the night before he left for South Korea. “Having the opportunity to skate another race at the Olympics is a thrill. I was really excited to get (the text message), it was great news to wake up to, it was great news to go to practice with and everyone on the team was really happy for me as well.”

Lehman, a junior in the College of Engineering, has also trained with his fellow teammates in the Team Pursuit, Brian Hansen and Joey Mantia.

“It’s always very nice to have their expertise,” Lehman said. “It’s really special to have two guys on the team who know so much about skating with the fastest in the world and they have a lot of knowledge to share.”

The Oak Park Ill., native will compete in the 5K, his first race, on Sunday, Feb. 11. The Team Pursuit qualifiers are a week later on Feb. 18 and the finals are Wednesday, Feb. 21.

The last Olympics in Sochi for was an utter disaster for American speedskating. The long track team failed to win a single medal for the first time since the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Canada, leading to significant training and structural changes in U.S. Speedskating. Four years later, redemption is on everyone’s mind.

“Everyone realizes that Sochi was a bit of an an anomaly,” Lehman said. “We are better than that and so going to South Korea, we are going out there to prove to the world that that was just an odd coincidence. We definitely could have came back with a ton of medals there.”

With Sochi behind Team USA and a fresh Olympics ahead, Lehman will look forward to taking yet another trip to a new country and getting another shot at a medal.

“I love packing for trips because it makes me really excited for the fun to come,” Lehman said.