Meet Maame Biney, First Black Woman on the U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team
Nationwide — 18-year old Maame Biney is the first Black woman ever to join the U.S. speedskating team for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She has already advanced to the quarterfinal round after finishing second in the opening round on Feb. 10.
Biney stepped onto the ice for her Olympic debut to compete in the 500-meter short-track event. Even though a first-timer surrounded by seasoned competitors, Biney’s faith did not rattle and her veteran-like performance secured her a spot in the quarterfinals.
Biney finished second in the opening round in her heat (43.665 seconds) behind China’s Fan Kexin (43.350 seconds). Her incredible block and strong maneuver are what held off South Korea’s Kim Alang who finished third, ensuring her advancement. However, fellow American Lana Gehring failed to qualify.
Born in Ghana, Biney and her father moved to Virginia in hopes of better opportunities. “I don’t really feel pressure to be the first to get a medal or anything like that,” she told HuffPost back when she was still preparing for the competition. “I just want to go out there, do my best and have fun, and experience the Olympics. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to win, obviously, but also have fun.” Follow her on Instagram at @biney.biney
Meet Jordan Greenway, First Ever African-American Hockey Player to Play in the Winter Olympics
Nationwide — Jordan Greenway, a 20-year-old ice hockey player, is making history as the first-ever African American to compete for the USA Men’s Olympic hockey team since the games began in 1920.
Greenway, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound player, has been chosen to play by his coach late last year and he considers it the “greatest Christmas present” he ever got.
“I dreamed of [it] as a kid, and I didn’t think it was going to happen before I graduated college, but I’m fortunate that it did, and I just couldn’t be more excited!” Greenway told CNN.
His love for ice hockey stems from when he first started learning to skate at the age of three. In his hometown at Canton, New York, there are ice rinks all over the town and everyone plays hockey.
Greenway and his younger brother JD both play hockey. Even though they’re both competitive in nature, they encourage each other to be great in the game.
Most players in the National Hockey League are white but it did not stop Greenway in achieving his dreams.
“There wasn’t a lot of African-Americans playing and I think, honestly, outside of my brother and I, I can’t think of a ton… so I just kind of grew up around it and it was kinda the norm,” Greenway said.
Greenway has been drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2015 but he chose to stay at Boston University where he plays forward. Greenway is also one of the first amateur players to play for the US Men’s Olympic hockey team in the Winter Olympics since no players from the NHL were sent to compete this year.
Greenway’s goal isn’t only to compete in the Olympics but also, to become a role model to other African Americans.
“I’m the first African American to play hockey for the United States at the Olympics but hopefully I’m the first of many,” Greenway said. “Hopefully these kids go out, try something different, play hockey, and hopefully I see a lot more playing in the near future.”
Follow him on Twitter at @jgreenway12