The speedskater talks school, the Olympics, her favorite places in NoVA and more.
A year ago, Maame Biney was in South Korea as the first black woman to make the U.S. Olympic Speedskating team. Now, the Reston-raised Olympian is in the middle of her freshman year at the University of Utah, balancing school and training for another go at a medal at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Biney reflected on her milestone year, which also included her high school graduation from South Lakes High School, and what the experience taught her about herself.
What was the overall Olympic experience like?
Overall, it was really, really good. I definitely wish I had better results (Biney did not reach the finals in her two events), but I’m glad I was able to go and figure out myself first, and then try again next time and do better.
What was it like to come home?
Oh man, it was really difficult, because I did not go to school for a month. I was doing online school last year and my teachers gave me off because they were like, ‘You’re in the Olympics, you don’t need to (worry about) school.’ And so I literally did not do any work from Jan. 20 to the first week of March. It was really hard getting back into that flow of school and doing work, but my teachers let me come back in slowly and they were super nice.
What’s different for you now as you prepare for 2022?
I’m taking more time to really figure out myself and know why I’m doing this. Before the Olympics, I was like, ‘I’m doing this for my dad, I’m doing this because he spent so much time and money on me and I’m really grateful,’ but now … I’ve already been to the Olympics, that’s my life goal, and so I’m done and I can move on with my life. But after the Olympics, I (decided) I’m not going to stop because this is so great and I have another goal, and that is to get a gold medal, or even get on the podium in the next games.
Favorite moment of the Olympics: Meeting [SNL star and NBC correspondent] Leslie Jones.
Training music: I have one genre, which is pop. I go on to Apple music and listen to the radio.
Favorite places in NoVA: My room. Or Reston Town Center.
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