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Emery Lehman finishes 21st in 5,000 meter race

Emery+Lehman+finished+21st+out+of+22+in+the+5%2C000+meter+race+in+his+2018+Winter+Olympics+debut.+%28Photo+Courtesy%3A+Emery+Lehman%29
Emery Lehman finished 21st out of 22 in the 5,000 meter race in his 2018 Winter Olympics debut. (Photo Courtesy: Emery Lehman)

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

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

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It was a rough afternoon for Emery Lehman’s first go-around at the Gangneung Oval in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The junior in the College of Engineering came in 21st out of 22 in the 5,000-meter race.

Lehman was in the event’s second pairing, skating against Japan’s Ryosuke Tsuchiya. Lehman officially finished with a time of 6 minutes, 31.16 seconds.

“Going into the race, the ice was good and the preparation was good. It’s on me to perform well and skate a little better than I skated,” Lehman told Chris Cole of U.S. Speedskating.

Lehman started off the race strong, getting out to a 18.93-second lead in the opening half lap. However, Tsuchiya showed his strength as he quickly caught Lehman at the 2,200-meter mark and never looked back. Lehman’s average lap time was 31.07 seconds while Tsuchiya was consistently skating near 30-second laps. From the 3,400-meter point onward, Lehman did not have a lap time that was below 31 seconds.

“The early part of the race was good,” said Lehman, who skated three seconds off of his winning time at the U.S. Olympic Trials of 6:28.06. “I just couldn’t relax into it as much as I hoped.”

Lehman was the only American in the field. He’s also the youngest American long track speedskater on the team at 21 years old and is four years removed from competing in the 5,000-meter event in the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, where he finished in 16th place.

Lehman found a silver lining despite the disappointing finish, posting on Instagram: “Bad news: 21st out of 22 skaters today. Good news: 21st in the world today.”

Legendary Dutch long distance skater Sven Kramer took home his third straight gold medal with a winning time of 6:09.76.

This is not the end of the  Olympic Games for Lehman; he still has the team pursuit to compete for next Sunday, Feb. 18 alongside former Marquette student Brian Hansen and Joey Mantia.

“(The 5000m) definitely has a special place in my heart just because it’s my individual race and it was definitely a goal,” Lehman said. “But now looking forward, the team pursuit in the bigger picture is more important.”

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