17-Year-Old Maame Biney Becomes 1st Black Girl to Make US Olympics Team for Speedskating

Maame Biney reacts after winning women’s 500-meter during the U.S. Olympic short-track speedskating trials Dec. 16, 2017, in Kearns, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP Images)

We ’bout to see all the #BlackGirlMagic during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, now that a 17-year-old from Virginia has bust through.

On Saturday, Maame Biney became the first African-American woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympics team in speedskating, with two victories in the 500-meter race.


“I can’t believe it, aww geez,” said the Reston, Va., native, according to the Associated Press. “It’s a really good feeling, but it has to set in first because it takes me a while. I’m like, ‘Holy cow.’”

After Maame qualified, she let her teen euphoria get the best of her and came tumbling down on the ice, the Salt Lake Tribune reports—but she popped back up like Beyoncé and took it all in stride.

“When I realized I made the Olympic team, I started cheering like crazy and then I made my epic fall,” she said afterward. “So, yeah, you’re welcome.”


Maame, whose parents are Ghanaian, will be the second black speedskater on a U.S. Olympic team. Shani Davis was 19 when he qualified for the short-track team in 2002. He later switched to long track and won four medals, including two golds, according to USA Today.

And in case you’re wondering how her last name is pronounced, her father cleared all that up with a sign he held from the stands on Saturday: “Kick Some Hiney Biney.”


If she can keep her nerves in check, gold is almost assured. In the first 500-meter final at the short-track trials Saturday, she beat Olympians Lana Gehring, Jessica Kooreman and Katherine Reutter-Adamek handily.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.