Blogs and Commentary

posted 02.11.2014 at 4.30 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Chicago-Area High School Laxer a Speed Skating Olympian

Emery Lehman (NBC Chicago)

A high school lacrosse player is about to participate in the Winter Olympics.

Emery Lehman, a 17-year-old senior and midfielder at Oak Park-River Forest (Ill.) High in suburban Chicago, will represent the United States in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter speed skating events starting this weekend in Sochi, Russia.

Lehman is the youngest U.S. male Olympian, and one of only a handful of American high school students competing in the Olympics. The 5,000 meter event starts at 5:30 a.m. ET Saturday and the 10,000 is Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET.

In addition to lacrosse, which he started playing in sixth grade, Lehman has played hockey at Oak-Park River Forest, but sat out this winter's hockey season in the run up to the Olympics. He was in Utah in January for the U.S. Olympic trials, where he finished second in the 5,000 and won the 10,000 in front of a crowd of 3,000 in Salt Lake City and on an NBC broadcast.

Lehman owns three of five national junior speed skating records and was 12 and in the sport for three years when he won his first national title, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"To me, he's the future of distance skating in the United States," Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen told the Tribune.

That may be true, but Lehman said he'll still be playing lacrosse this spring. And he's still just a kid, telling the Chicago Sun-Times he has eyes on eating chicken nuggets at McDonald's and staying up past midnight while in Russia.