2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Maame Biney?

  • Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
11:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 Nation & World

Short track skater Maame Biney started figure skating at age 5 before moving into speed skating at a coach’s suggestion. Her father, Kweku Biney, saw a “learn to skate” sign on the road one day and asked his daughter if she was interested. 

>> Read more trending news 

Born in Accra, Ghana, ice sports were not familiar to a young Maame Biney.

“She didn’t even know what that word (skating) was and I explained it to her. The only thing cold in Ghana is cold beer,” Kweku Biney told the Associated Press in 2017.

>> More Olympics coverage at WPXI.com

Biney made her Olympic debut in 2018. She gained attention when she won a bronze medal in the 500m at the 2017 World Junior Championships in January. She finished seventh overall.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 16: Maame Biney #1 corners in the Women's 500 Meter A Final during the 2018 U.S. Speedskating Short Track Olympic Team Trials at the Utah Olympic Oval on December 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It was Biney’s win at the 500m races at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for short track skating that drew attention. When she crossed the finish line, she beamed, cheering so hard that she fell. Her post-race interview with her signature smile and laugh made her a viral sensation.

The win, which sent Biney to the 2018 Games, made the 18-year-old the first African-American woman to represent the U.S. in Olympic speed skating. She’s the second African-born U.S. Olympian and the second African-American speed skater on a U.S. Olympics team.

´╗┐Other interesting facts: