- Maame Afua Biney is the first Black woman to join the US speedskating team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea
- The Ghanaian athlete achieved the feat at age 18 when she stepped onto the ice for her Olympic debut to compete in the games
- Biney was born in Accra, Ghana, and at the age of five, she relocated to the United States to live with her father
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At 18, Maame Afua Biney became the first Black woman to join the United States speedskating team for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, BlackNews reported.
The Ghanaian trailblazer advanced to the quarterfinal round after finishing second in the opening round during the Olympics.
She made history when she stepped onto the ice for her Olympic debut to compete in the 500-meter short-track event.
Reaching the quarterfinals
Despite entering the contest as a first-timer surrounded by seasoned competitors, her faith did not rattle as her veteran-like performance secured her a spot in the quarterfinals.
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Biney finished second in the opening round in her heat (43.665 seconds) behind China's Fan Kexin (43.350 seconds).
She saw off competition from South Korea’s Kim Alang who finished third, ensuring her advancement. Biney's fellow American Lana Gehring failed to qualify.
Born in Ghana on January 28, 2000, Biney and her Ghanaian father relocated to Virginia for greener pastures. Little did they know that those opportunities would include going to Pyeongchang to compete in the Winter Olympics.
Credited God for the success
On her Instagram account, where she has a following of over 26,000, Biney on December 18, 2017, shared that she was still astonished that she going to the Olympics as she credited God for the feat.
''What a weekend! I'm still in awe that I’m going to the Olympics!! I want to start off by thanking God. I am so sure that none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for him.
''If God hadn’t given my dad the strength to wake up, and take me to practice, I wouldn’t be here today. I also want to thank God for giving me the passion to do this,'' she said.
Biney has hopes to be the fastest speed skater in the world. ''I want young girls to see me and see someone that looks like them.''
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The appointment takes effect from Tuesday, October 26, 2021, making her the first woman to occupy the position since the institution was established in 1948.
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