Illinois to be well-represented at Winter Olympics
With the 2018 Winter Olympics just around the corner, a number of athletes with ties to Illinois are gearing up to compete.
There will be two figure skaters with ties to Illinois competing in PyeongChang. Bradie Tennell was born in Winfield and lives in Carpentersville. The 20-year-old began skating when she was 2 and won a novice bronze medal at the 2013 U.S. Championships. The following year she took fourth place in the junior division. This is the first time that Tennell will compete in the Olympics.
Tennell will be joined in South Korea by fellow figure skater and Addison native, Alexa Scimeca Knierim. She is a pair figure skater, who competes with her husband Chris Knierim. The duo won the gold medal at their first international competition in 2012 and would go on to finish fourth in the 2012 NHK Trophy, the final event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. The pair won their first national gold medal in 2014 at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.
Kendall Coyne will be heading to the Olympics as a member of the U.S.women’s national hockey team. Coyne was born in Oak Lawn and will be making her second appearance at the Olympics. She started her career in 2009 with the Chicago Mission Under 19 girls team, where she scored 53 goals and recorded 34 assists. She won a silver medal with the U.S. team the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
There will also be three long track speed skaters from Illinois heading to PyeongChang. Shani Davis, a 35-year-old skater from Chicago, is an accomplished Olympian and has won a total of four Olympic medals. He also has set nine world records during his career and currently holds two of those records.
Davis will be joined by Brian Hansen who grew up in Glenview. Hansen won a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics and has won two medals at the World Single Distance Championships.
Emery Lehman will be the third Illinois native on the long form speed skating team. Lehman is 21 and is from Chicago. He started skating early in life and began playing ice hockey when he was 6. He started speed skating when he was 9 after seeing a poster that said speed skating could make you a better hockey player. In 2013 he won a gold medal at the junior world championships and will be competing in his first-ever Olympics.
Fellow Chicago native Lana Gehring will be taking part in the short track speed skating in PyeongChang. This will be the second appearance at the Olympics for the 27-year-old. She previously won a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. After not qualifying for the 2014 Olympics, she retired from skating but came out of retirement and qualified for the 2018 short track team.
Ski jumper Michael Glasder will also be heading to PyeongChang. This will be his first time competing in the Olympics after he previously failed to qualify for the past two Olympics. Glasder was born in Lake Forest.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will get underway on Feb. 9, in PyeongChang, South Korea and will run until Feb. 25.