17-year-old speed skater Maame Biney is the first African-American woman to qualify for the United States Olympic speedskating team and the second speed skater to ever qualify for the Winter Olympics.
Biney made history on Saturday after cruising to victory twice in the 500-meter short track speedskating trials inside the Utah Olympic Oval.
She beat Olympians Lana Gehring, Jessica Kooreman and Katherine Reutter-Adamek to seal a place at the February 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“I can’t believe it! Ah, jeez. It’s a really good feeling, but it has to set in. It takes me a while before it’s like, ‘Holy cow,’” the high schooler was quoted by teamusa.org as saying.
She crossed the finish line and fell in astonishment over the fete never achieved in the United States.
“When I crossed the finish line, I don’t know what I was thinking – I was just like, ‘I got first, that’s so cool.’ And when I realized I made the Olympic team I started cheering like crazy. And then I made my epic fall, so, yeah, you’re welcome,” she added.
Maame Biney was born in Ghana and when she was 5 years old, she visited her father Kweku in the United States where she stayed.
Her father, who witnessed the history being made, enrolled her in figure skating lessons a year after she visited the U.S. She then switched to speedskating and excelled in the sport.
“He’s been through everything and I’m amazed by him. I just want to thank him a lot for everything … he’s been through all the practices with me and watches me every day and gives me tips, and I love him for that,” she was quoted by teamusa.org.
thanks dad for helping me get to nationals in St. Louis. i love you!
— Maame Biney (@BineyMaame) March 23, 2014
Special day this fall for the @masonathletic office as the now US Olympic qualifiers Maame Biney stopped by to say hello. pic.twitter.com/CtdVobmxU1
— Darrell Green (@darrellgreen28) December 16, 2017
Biney won bronze at the world junior championships last year where she became the second U.S. woman to win a medal at the event since 1996. A few months ago, she qualified for the senior world cup team becoming the overall women’s winner.
.@BineyMaame on her ? in the 500m at the #ShortTrack ? Junior Championships. pic.twitter.com/mJutKUduFf
— US Speedskating (@USSpeedskating) January 30, 2017
Photo of new FDIA banner: Maame Biney US National Champ Short Track Speedskating 2011 2012 2013 2014. @BineyMaame pic.twitter.com/wD1LL12uEv
— Friends of FDIA (@KidsOnIce) April 24, 2014
Maame Biney follows the footsteps of Shani Davis who was two years older than her when he qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympics as the first black man to qualify for the United States Olympic speedskating team.
He has since partaken in three Olympics and won four laurels including two gold medals.
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