Lana Gehring was the first person to make the U.S. Olympic short track team when she won both 1500m races on the first night of the Trials. Gehring has had a long road to her second Games after winning a bronze in Vancouver but missing out on the Olympic team for Sochi.
Short track beginnings
Lana Gehring began as a figure skater, but moved to short track after her parents encouraged her to try the sport. Soon after, she made the switch official after watching a practice and thinking, “Oh my god, this is so cool,” Gehring told NBC Olympics Research.
Gehring made her Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games where she won a relay bronze with Allison Baver, Aly Dudek and Katherine Reutter-Adamek. Leading up to the Olympics, Gehring was poised to compete in multiple events but she contracted mono seven weeks before the Olympic Trials, and as a result only qualified for the relay.
After the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Gehring went on to win a 3000m relay silver and a 500m bronze at the 2012 World Championships.
Gehring competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, but didn’t make the three-woman team.
Due to the disappointment, Gehring retired from the sport and became a personal trainer.
“Stopping, retiring, whatever you want to call it. I thought I was completely done,” Gehring said to NBC Olympics Research.
Shortly after, she returned to racing, but switched to long track. Following advice from four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis, Gehring began to supplement long track training with practice on the short track oval.
The move did not work out as Davis had planned as Gehring stuck with short track.
Since returning to short track in 2017, Gehring has made the World Cup team and set personal bests in the 500m and 1000m.
Gehring entered the 2017 U.S. Short Track World Cup Trials on a whim, but went on to finish second overall.
On the first day of the the U.S. Olympic Trials in December 2017, Gehring won both 1500m A Finals to earn her spot on the Olympic team for PyeongChang. Gehring was involved in a crash in the women’s 1500m #2 final that eliminated three competitors and forced a rerace.
Although not visible while racing, Gehring has a very distinctive haircut: the right side of her head is shaved, revealing a tattoo of a crown with her initials. The rational behind the tattoo location was that it could hidden by growing her hair or wearing her short track helmet.
“I feel like my overall fitness level is a lot stronger – I was so young, I was only 19,” Gehring told TeamUSA.org, comparing her 2010 Olympic experience to the present. “Coming in here, I’m a little more confident in how I skate. But yeah, I’m just happy that shined through today for sure.”
Off the ice
Gehring grew up in Glenview, Illinois with her parents Debbie and John and sister Amber. When she was 17 she moved to Salt Lake City by herself to join the national team.
In her free time, Lana enjoys water skiing and wakeboarding.