MILWAUKEE — Emery Lehman finished second to last at the Olympics four years ago. But now he has a new outlook and a lucky piece of the Pettit here in Milwaukee with him. Lehman stepped up and competed in the 5000 when Casey Dawson didn't pass Covid protocols.
Emery Lehman is from Chicago. But when he competes, he wouldn't leave home without a piece of the Pettit.
"Man, this is my lucky Pettit Center hoodie," Lehman says. "The awesome staff, Kevin and Randy at the Pettit, gave this to me, this and a shirt, before I left for Salt Lake City for my first Olympic Trials. And you know, I wore it there. I made it on my first team at 17. And you know, I go through hoodies very quickly. This might be one of my oldest articles of clothing I own."
Since that time, Lehman is a 3-time speed skating Olympian.
"This has really been something special, because I don't think I've spent more time training in my life," Lehman says. "Or had the mental challenges I've had to overcome these last, you know, 4 to 8 years. And having this team there. Mainly just having those young guys there to kick my ass when I need it to be."
Amazing because after his second Olympics four years ago, he was at a loss.
"It was definitely not my best skating. Not my best physical condition," Lehman says. "That was pretty demoralizing. Pretty tough to go through. But now going back for my third time, skating as strong as I am. Having the team that I have and all this stuff. Being 25, you know I'm done with school at Marquette. Starting a master's program. It just feels like, it's weird looking back on the last 4 years."
After PyeongChang, Lehman took a break, attended Marquette and now has his degree.
"My undergrad was from Marquette in civil engineering," Lehman says. "And I'm now online through Johns Hopkins getting a structural engineering masters."
Lehman subbed in for a teammate who didn't pass Covid protocols for the 5,000 meters. He will compete in the 1,500 meters as well, but the Team Pursuit is his best bet for a medal.
"We're the overall World Cup champions," Lehman says. "And theoretically, have never skated a time that would not have got us on the podium. So I think if we just do what we know how to do, between last World Cup and the Olympics, I don't think we need to do anything special. I think we just need to keep doing what we're doing."