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Maame Biney Makes History as First Black Woman to Qualify For U.S. Olympic Speedskating

Black Girl Magic is alive and well in the sports world this week, thanks to 17-year-old speedskating phenom, Maame Biney!

Biney has just become the first black woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating team with a pair of victories in the 500 meters at the short track trials this weekend, beating out Olympians Lana Gehring, Jessica Kooreman and Katherine Reutter-Adamek.

Originally from Ghana, and now living in Virginia, Biney is also only the second black person to qualify for U.S. Olympic speedskating after Shani Davis, who was not only the first black athlete to qualify for Olympic speedskating, but became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual sport at the Olympic Winter Games. In 2006 at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, he won a gold medal for the speedskating 1000 meter event as well as the silver medal in the 1500 meter event. He then went on to repeat both feats at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C, Canada. He was 24 at the time.

Biney has some big skates to fill, but the fact that she’s qualified so young speaks volumes about her skills, and it looks like maybe Davis should be looking over his shoulder!

According to USA Today, Biney’s initial response to her qualifying win was adorable as all heck. “I can’t believe it, aww geez,” she said when asked about the win later. “It’s a really good feeling, but it has to set in first because it takes me a while. I’m like, Holy cow.”

Apparently, just before that, “She crossed the finish line on the hockey-sized rink and began clapping and then pumping her arms so hard she lost her balance and fell. She went down laughing all the way.”

She responded to that with an equally awesome sense of humor. “When I realized that I made the Olympic team, I started cheering like crazy and then I made my epic fall.”

When you’re as talented on the ice as Biney is when she’s competing, you get to pratfall in celebration all. You. Want.

I know I’ll definitely be keeping on eye out for Biney as she competes in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea, which run Feb. 9-25th. If you’re specifically tuning in for Biney, Women’s Speedskating begins on February 10th with the Women’s 3000 meter. You can check out all the deets at the official site HERE.

(via Essence, image: sportpoint/Shutterstock)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.