Let’s face it: as far as Olympic competition goes, the Winter Games have always been a little sister to the athletic fanfare and exotic locals that are highlighted during the summer.
Even with that said, if you ignore this year’s Winter Olympics, you’ll miss your chance to see some of the best Black athletes in the world compete at the highest level ever in sports that we traditionally have never dominated. From history makers like the Nigerian Bobsled Team to newcomers like Alpine skier Shannon Ogbani Abeda to Olympic legends like Shani Davis, the Pyeonchang games are a must-watch.
Here’s our guide to the Olympians you need to know and watch.
2MAAME BINEY, 17
Where She’s From: Accra, Ghana
Sport: Speed Skating (short track)
How She Became an Olympian: She won the women’s 500m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Why She’s One To Watch: Biney is only the second Black person, and first woman, to qualify for the US Olympic speed skating team, so it’s impossible not to root for her. Add that to a mega-watt smile and her seemingly endless positivity, and you can see why she’s an automatic crowd favorite. She moved to the U.S. at 5 years old and fell in love with figure skating which quickly turned into a passion for speed skating by the time she turned six. While Biney hopes to become a chemist after her Olympic days, we see gold around her neck in the future.