Written by C.Diva
This year, athletes of black African descent are making historical changes at the Winter Olympics in terms of diversity and representation. Still, when I look at the numbers–43 out of 2,952 athletes representing 92 countries–it is a little disconcerting that less than 50 black athletes is considered historic. Regardless, I am rooting for everyone black, so here are the 7 USA athletes who are breaking color barriers at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Jordan Greenway, Hockey
Greenway is a forward playing at Boston University and was a 2015 second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild. Even though USA is out of the competition at this stage (they didn’t medal), Greenway received congratulations from well-known professional black hockey player, PK Subban for all his hard work and his ability to break stereotypes in winter sports. Greenway is the first African-American EVER to play on the Olympic hockey team.
Erin Jackson, Long Track Skating
Erin became internet famous when she qualified as the first black woman to earn a spot on a long track skating Olympic roster and also because she took up speedskating only 4 months ago. Before that, she was a roller derby girl, which is absolutely enchanting.
Shani Davis, Speedskating
Davis’ legacy includes being the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Games when he won the 1000m in 2006 in Turin, a feat he repeated four years later in Vancouver. Not only that, but this year, he skipped the Olympic opening ceremonies after losing a coin toss to determine the US flag bearer to Erin Hamlin, a move that got him a whole bunch of angry white people in his Twitter mentions.
Maame Afua Biney, Speedskating
Biney is the first African-American woman to qualify for the USA speedskating Olympic team, and follows in the footsteps of Shani Davis. Although Biney didn’t medal this year, she enjoyed her first Olympics in Pyeoung-Chang where she got to meet Leslie Jones, sample the Olympic Village McDonald’s and binge watch Teen Wolf during her off time.
Lauren Gibbs, Aja Davis and Elana Meyers Taylor, Bobsledding
Bobsledding is the most diverse of all the Winter sports, and I give all the credit to Cool Runnings (1993), honestly. There are 5 women of color on the USA bobsledding team in total, including the alternate, Briauna Jones. You go girls!