The 2018 Winter Olympics Is Making Black History

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We are delighted to celebrate Black History Month by featuring the first two African American women to be selected to the USA Olympic Team in the sport of speed skating.

Erin Jackson will be competing in the long track event, while Maame Biney will be representing in the short track event. They are the first African American women to compete in these events.

To clear up any confusion, long track speed skaters race in their own lanes and run in pairs around a 400 meter track. Short track races are conducted in pack-style around a track measuring 111.12 meters.

While a lifelong inline roller skater, Erin was new to speed skating. She was named the 2012 United States Olympic Committee’s Female Athlete of the Year in roller sports. When she started speed skating, and found that she was good at it, she started training thinking she might be ready for the 2022 Games. She never expected to make the 2018 team let alone make history along with Maame.

Erin has medaled many times since joining Team USA in 2008. She won gold medals in the 500 meter races at the 2014 Pan American Championships and the Pan American Olympic Festival. Make sure to watch her compete on February 16th!

Maame Biney was born in Ghana. At five years old, she visited her father who was living in the U.S. and decided she wanted to live here.

She began skating at the age of six after seeing a sign on the side of the road in Virginia advertising skating lessons. While she started her sports career by figure skating, she soon switched to speed skating at the recommendation of her coach.

Maame made a name for herself in 2017 when she won the bronze medal in the 500 meters at the World Junior Short Track Skating Championships. Her first senior level competition came a few months later when she won the America’s Cup at the U.S. Speed skating Short Track world Cup Qualifier. At just 18 years old, she will be one of the youngest competitors at the Games!

America has great hopes for a high medal haul this year. Let’s begin rooting for them by watching the Opening Ceremony on February 9th.  And stay tuned here for updates.  Go USA!

Follow Erin on Twitter and Instagram.
Follow Maame on Twitter and Instagram.
Follow Team USA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.