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'Olympic Fever' grows as Sochi 2014 gets closer

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

'Olympic Fever' grows as Sochi 2014 gets closer

By Jesse Ritka. CREATED Oct 29, 2013

MILWAUKEE - We're now 100 days to the Olympics, and people at the Pettit National Ice Center are getting Olympic fever.  “It's amazing how quick, I turned around and looked up to today and went 'oh my gosh the Olympics is almost here,'” John McLinn tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.

As a self-proclaimed “Olympic wanna-be” McLinn loves coming to Milwaukee’s Ice Oval, one of only two in the nation, "I come at lunch hour so I don't take an Olympian out of the Olympics myself.” 

But sharing the ice with McLinn today was Olympic hopeful, Leah Lambert, “I started when I was four, and I just remember in 1st or 2nd grade actually watching Bonnie Blair win a gold medal and now I actually train with her husband so it's kind of a full circle.”

But training for the games isn't always smooth skating, especially for Leah.  Her coach and four- time Olympian, David Cruickshank, explains the struggles she had to overcome, “First figuring out what she had, the diagnosis with lupus and then staying with it, just it's just a great lesson for everybody, for the kids, for former skaters, future skaters that hey, this sport's about the journey and not just about the results.”

A journey Leah hopes to continue after the Olympic trials in December, “This is probably my last games to try for.”

And the nearly eight weeks until the trials is creeping up on Lambert, who has a packed training schedule compared to when she first started training, “I guess you could say it's been six years in the process for this games so it's kind of coming down to it so it's a little bit more intense now.”

Just watching that intense training and skating on the same ice as past and future Olympians is an exciting experience for those visiting the Pettit National Ice Center.   “Just being able to appreciate how quick they are, how amazing they are as athletes is what is in it for me, so I really like, I'm all excited about the Olympics,” McLinn admits.

An excitement extending from athletes to viewers, “It's kind of what you see on TV, it's just full of life, full of energy, full of just everything you see... the fireworks, the athletes, everybody coming together.  They've been working a long time, 4 years for their goal and now it's a time to let it out, enjoy it.”

But you don’t have to just watch the Olympics from home, starting on Thursday, you could win a trip to actually go to the Olympics from TODAY’S TMJ4, stay tuned!

Jesse Ritka

Jesse Ritka

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Jesse Ritka joined TODAY’S TMJ4 and Storm Team 4 in February 2011 as the “Live at Daybreak” weekend meteorologist. Growing up in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Jesse has always been fascinated by storms.