Maame Biney, 17, made the U.S. Olympic short track team for 2018 after sweeping the 500m at the Olympic Trials.
While driving one day, Biney saw a sign for skating lessons on the roadside. Her father asked her if she was interested, but she didn’t even know what ice skating was. So, her father explained it to her.
She started with figure skating lessons then changed to speed skating on the recommendation of one of her coaches. Biney came unto the world stage at the World Jr. Championships in 2017. She earned a bronze medal and finished 7th.
Biney has shown she’s one of America’s best skaters at the 2017 Short Track World Cup Qualifiers, a competition held in August that decides which short track skaters will go to the World Cups. She won the 500m and ended up in the top three in the 1000m and 1500m, giving her the overall top ranking.
When she competes in the 2018 Olympics, she will be the 2nd African-born athlete to represent the United States at a Winter Olympics. The 1st was Dan Westover, a biathlete who was from Madagascar and represented the US in the ’98 Olympics.
Additionally, she is the 1st Black woman to make the US team in speed skating or short track. The 1st Black man was Shani Davis from Chicago who made the 2002 team in short track.
Biney isn’t the only American Black woman heading to the Olympics. Others include Lolo Jones and AJA Evans in bobsledding. It shows that Black athletes are breaking down barriers in sports, particularly fields in which Black athletes were few and far between.
Best wishes to ALL our 2018 US Winter Olympic athletes!