OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A student at Oak Park-River Forest High School got a big send-off on Friday as he prepared to head to Sochi, Russia, where he’ll be participating as a speed skater in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“I feel good. You know, not too much pressure going in,” 17-year-old Emery Lehman said. “I don’t really like a lot of pressure usually, because then I get all nervous. The lower the pressure, the better for me.”
WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports hundreds of Emery Lehman’s classmates chanted “USA! USA! USA!” as they gathered in the student center to wish him good luck.
“It’s a lot of support. It’s really exciting to know that everyone’s behind me,” he said. “It means a lot.”
Lehman is the 12th Oak Park-River Forest student or alum to compete in the Olympics.
Another Olympian alum, former softball star Dani Tyler, sent Lehman a letter. A school administrator read it to the school on Friday.
“Know that you not only have the support of your family and friends, and hometown, but the entire United States. Not many people in their lifetime will ever be able to experience that,” she wrote.
Lehman had one of the fastest qualifying times in the Olympic Trials.
“I won the 10K and second in the 5K, but I’m going to approach it like any other competition,” he said.
Lehman leaves for Sochi on Monday.