Teen Maame Biney first black woman to make U.S. Olympic speedskating team

Maame Biney (1) falls as she reacts after winning women's 500-meter A final race during the U.S. Olympic short track speedskating trials Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Kearns, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

KEARNS, UT (AP) — Maame Biney became the first black woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic speedskating team with a pair of victories in the 500 meters.

The 17-year-old native of Ghana cruised to victory in the first 500 final at the short track trials on Saturday, beating Olympians Lana Gehring, Jessica Kooreman and Katherine Reutter-Adamek.

“I can’t believe it, aww geez,” she said after squealing with joy. “It’s a really good feeling, but it has to set in first because it takes me a while. I’m like, ‘Holy cow.'”

Before the second final, her father sitting in the stands held up a sign reading: “Kick some hiney Biney.”

She sure did.

Biney set a blistering pace in taking an early lead that widened as the wild and wooly race went on. 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.

“When I realized that I made the Olympic team, I started cheering like crazy and then I made my epic fall,” she said.

Biney 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.

 

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