African American Athletes in Winter Olympics


Sofia Alcala, Sports Writer

Following the 2022 Winter Olympics that took place in Beijing, there have been so many talented athletes to look out for throughout the different events. From speedskating to Alpine skiing, the Winter Olympics provide a tremendous platform for athletes of all backgrounds to show off their abilities. As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to highlight the journeys and achievements of African American athletes that competed in the Olympic events of speed skating and bobsledding this year.

Erin Jackson and Maame Biney represented Team USA in speed skating this year at the Winter Olympics in short track and long track. Erin Jackson was born in Florida and began figure skating career at 8 years old, but moved to speed skating at 24 years old. She qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics with only four months of speed skating experience. This year she went on to win the gold medal in the Women’s 500 meter speed skating event at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Jackson became the first Black woman to win a Winter Olympic gold in an individual sport. Maame Biney was born in Accra, Ghana, and moved to the United States at the age of five. Since starting to skate at six years old, she dominated the speed skating competition throughout high school. She then qualified for the 2018 Olympics, becoming the second African-born athlete and first Black woman to represent the U.S. at the Winter Olympics. Following this feat, she qualified for the Winter Olympics in short track skating this year, representing Team USA and the African community once again.

Another phenomenal athlete that competed for the fourth time as an Olympian this year is Elana Meyers Taylor, an African American woman that is part of the bobsled team for the United States. She has a list of achievements under her belt, winning the bronze medal for bobsledding in the 2010 games, silver medal in 2014 games, and another silver in the 2018 Winter olympic games. Raised in Georgia, she participated in softball throughout highschool and college, but tried bobsledding at the suggestion of her parents and has competed in the sport since 2007. Elana Meyers Taylor returned to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics and won silver in the women’s monobob event. This was her fourth career medal, making her one of the most decorated Olympic bobsledders and African American Olympian in U.S. history.

A new African American Olympian emerged this year in the 2022 Winter Olympics, his name is Hakeem Abdul-Sabior of the U.S.A men’s bobsled team. Hakeem was born in New Jersey in 1987 and began competitive bobsledding in 2015. He had great success in the sport and qualified for the four-man and two-man bobsled event in the 2018 Winter Olympic games. This year he qualified for a second time to represent Team USA in the two-man bobsled event at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Although he has not won any medals yet, his achievements prior to the Olympics and qualifying for the Olympian spot this year has been celebrated widely.

With only a handful of Black athletes that competed in the Winter Olympics for the USA this year it is important to recognize their victories and witness history being made for the community. Black excellence should not only be recognized in Winter Olympic events in February but throughout the entire year and the Olympic games to come.