Chasing a dream: West Allis speedskater hopes to make Olympic team

Chase Reichmann

WEST ALLIS -- Wisconsin is known for producing Olympic speedskaters; Dan Jansen, Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden, to just name a few. Now, a West Allis athlete is hoping to add to that list -- but it wasn't something he even though about until recently.

Chase Reichmann is back at home trying to achieve one of his dreams.

"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling strong -- feeling confident," said Reichmann.

Chase Reichmann

Reichmann is a speedskater from West Allis, hoping to get to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Chase Reichmann

"I'm excited. I'm ready to go," Reichmann said.

Growing up near the Pettit Center didn't necessarily mean Reichmann was also chasing the dream of being a speedskating Olympian.

"I skated a little bit when I was a kid, maybe until I was like eight, and then I stopped on the hockey skates or whatever, and then I played the popular high school sports, did all that," Reichmann said.

Chase Reichmann

Then he went to school in Arizona, and in the middle of the desert, an idea came to him.

Chase Reichmann

"It was a college party or whatever I was at and the Olympics were on and I went in the other room and turned on the TV and speedskating was on and I remember I used to do that and how come I can't do that? I want to be there. Like the next day, I decided to start training and pretty much started training when I was about 22 or 23 and now I'm here," said Reichmann.

Just like that, Reichmann was a speedskater -- among plenty of skeptics.

"'Oh yeah, you really think you can do that? I don't think so. Maybe you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket with that.' A lot of people made fun of me for it, said that I couldn't do it, but you know," Reichmann said.

It didn't take long for a special talent to emerge.

"When I first thought it could be possible, it was after my second time trial that I did. I put on the skates. I believe it was a 1,500. I just went for it," Reichmann said.  "Now that I look back, at the time it wasn't crazy good or anything, but the feeling that I had, I had a good race the effort was there. I felt strong. Somebody said something to me after the race, like 'you had a really good one and how long have you been skating?' 'Like 6 weeks'. 'No way!' Then after that it kind of morphed into the Olympics."

Chase Reichmann

Chase Reichmann

Reichmann said he understands he's lacking experience on the ice, but he also sees that as a possible positive.

"There are plenty of people that have been doing it since they could walk they've been on skates. It was good though because I could learn from them, the steps and mistakes that they made along the way that they had to learn the hard way -- where I could talk to them and train with them. They kind of brought me up to speed quicker," Reichmann said.

Reichmann's job is another advantage: he works at DICK's Sporting Goods in Wauwatosa, in their "Contenders" program.

Chase Reichmann

"They give us the flexible hours we need, with a competitive pay, and it's really helped me to get to where I need to be because not only does it help pay the rent and food, but I can also train as well," Reichmann said.

Giving him the time and flexibility to chase his dream.

Chase Reichmann

"It's pretty tough to work and train at the same time, and let alone without the flexible hours and competitive wage that DICK's offers me, I'd have to put more focus into work and not as much into training and I don't think I'd be at the elite level without DICK's Sporting Goods," said Reichmann.

Reichmann is competing in three events at the Olympic trials, the 5K, 10K and mass start.

Chase Reichmann