Olympic athlete families prep for travel to Sochi 2014 Games

January 22, 2014 (OAK PARK, Ill.)

The family of one Olympic athlete from the Chicago area say they are confident in security precautions and not allowing security concerns to keep them from attending.

Olympic athletes from our area are now leaving to train before the Olympics. Each athlete represents sacrifices by their families, coaches and teachers. Despite those security issues in Sochi, many of those close to athletes will be making the trip.

The Lehmans finalized their plans to Sochi, Russia this week. The Oak Park couple and their oldest son will go to the winter Olympics to cheer on Emery Lehman. He's a 17-year-old long distance speed skater.

"It feels completely unreal," said mom Marcia Lehman. "Every day you pinch yourself."

"It's a lot of fun, and we're enormously proud," said David Lehman, dad.

Emery Lehman is also a senior at Oak Park-River Forest High School. The school hosted an official sendoff for him. He left Chicago Monday for training. As he and the other athletes focus on their competitions, Olympic and government officials have had to give focus to new security threats.

Speed skater Tucker Fredericks asked his family in Janesville, Wisconsin, to stay home. Staying home was never an option for the Lehmans. Their family life, like so many Olympic families - has centered around Emery's practices and competitions. They say they are aware of the security concerns, but their purpose remains helping Emery succeed and supporting him - win or lose.

The Lehmans have traveled a lot with Emery's competitions. David Lehman and his older son went to Egypt last year as the mass riots broke out. They say they understand there are risks, and they are committed to being there for Emery.

Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks will be playing for the U.S. hockey team and says his mother, sister and girlfriend will attend, saying they understand what's going on and want to go.

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