Olympics: Local speed skaters don't fare well in 5000m

Olympics: Local speed skaters don't fare well in 5000m
February 8, 2014, 6:30 pm
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CSN Staff

The state of Illinois has produced a good portion of the Olympic speed skating team, but in the first day of competition in Sochi it didn't produce a medal.

Three Land of Lincoln-ers skated for the U.S. in the men's 5000m, the first speed skating event of this year's Games, but none finished higher than 16th.

Seventeen-year-old Emery Lehman, of Oak Park, was the highest-finishing American, placing 16th in his first Olympic event. Jonathan Kuck, of Champaign, and Patrick Meek, of Chicago, finished 19th and 20th, respectively.

[NBC OLYMPICS: Emery Lehman is the top U.S. speed skater in Olympic debut]

Skaters from the Netherlands swept the podium, with Sven Kramer winning gold in the event for the second straight Olympics. Countrymen Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma won silver and bronze, respectively.

There will be plenty more chances, though, for an Illinois native to grab a speed skating medal. Five of the state's 10 Olympians are long track speed skaters, with Shani Davis being the most well-known.