Speed skater Maame Biney thanks God for getting to Olympics; now she's becoming a star

The shortest event in Olympic short track speed skating is the 500m. That means racers need to get out in front early and hold off their opponents. Eighteen-year-old American Maame Biney did a masterful job of that to advance to the quarterfinals of the women’s 500m, which will take place starting at 5 a.m. ET Tuesday.

The first African American female to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speed skating team, Biney is quickly becoming a fan favorite, partly because of her animated father.

Here’s her father, Kweku:

Biney is the lone American left in the women’s 500m, yet not expected to wind up in the final. She’s ranked No. 10 in the world and really only came onto the world stage with a bronze at the 2017 World Junior Championships. She earned her spot on the top American team in August at the U.S. Short Track World Cup Qualifiers, where she won the 500m and finished top three in the 1000m and 1500m, earning the top overall ranking.

She then made her World Cup circuit debut in the fall, with her top individual result being fifth in the 500m in Shanghai.

Biney later made the U.S. Olympic team upon sweeping the 500m races at the Olympic Trials in December. Overjoyed with qualifying for the Olympics, she thanked her Heavenly Father and earthly father:

What a weekend!! I’m still in awe that I’m going to the Olympics😱!! I want to start off by thanking God. I am so sure that none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for him. If God hadn’t given my dad the strength to wake up, and take me to practice, I wouldn’t be here today. I also want to thank God for giving me the passion to do this🙏🏾. Daddy. I know that I can be a pain at times and not appreciate what you’ve done for me. I do appreciate you. When I’m older I want to be just like you. Wanting to help people, having an amazing heart, being dedicated, and being the best parent ever. Scratching the surface to any one of those things would already make me a great person. Thank you for letting me push myself, Werid, right? But it worked. And b/c of you, I will keep pushing myself. Hehe I love you Daddy❤️ This one is to my host family. Letting me stay with you guys for 6 months have been amazing! You guys have really made me feel like part of your family! Mrs. Melissa, you really have been a mother to me and I will forever love you and keep you close to my heart. Mr. Robert, hehe thank you for those Cafe Rio trips😂And Abby. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to become your big sister. Love you guys always and forever🧡 This one goes out to the whole skating community! You guys have made a huge impact on my dad and I. @dominionspeedskating I love you guys tons! We’ve been through so much together. Tears, laughter, and everything in between. I honestly can’t thank everyone who has helped us b/c there’s SOO many people. You guys know who you are😋much love💛 This last one is to my friends (from school) who got that I couldn't do anything b/c I had a goal. I’m so happy that you guys didn’t abandon me😂. I love how you guys tried to understand. It really means a lot to me💚. Also, to my church family for praying for me for years!! Without your prayers for safe travels and successful competitions I honestly don’t believe that my dad and I would have made it this far💙 It’s been an amazing journey and I can’t wait to see what happens!! Hehe I’m super excited to go to PyeongChang, Korea and represent USA with the rest of the team🇺🇸🤟🏾😆!!

A post shared by Maame Afua Biney (@biney.biney) on

You can watch Biney compete in the Olympic 500m quarterfinals (and semis and finals if she advances) here.

Later this weekend, she’ll also compete in the women’s 1500m, which you can watch here.

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