African-American athletes are displaying Black excellence on the ice. Nearly a month after it was announced that 17-year-old Maame Biney made history as the first Black woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating team, Jordan Greenway broke a similar racial barrier by becoming the first African-American man to be on Team USA’s hockey roster at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Korea, The Undefeated reported.
Greenway, 20, has had a standout athletic career at Boston University. He was selected in the 2015 NHL draft by the Minnesota Wild, but made the decision to stay in school and continue to pursue his degree. During the winter Olympic games—which are slated to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month—Greenway will be one of four college students who will play for the United States. It’s the first time in three decades that the USA men’s hockey team is comprised of college athletes, players from overseas and some retired athletes since the NHL didn’t send any of its players to compete in the Olympics.
Greenway—who hails from Canton, N.Y.—said he was humbled by the honor and wanted to use his platform as an avenue to increase the racial representation in the sport and encourage Black youth to play hockey.
“I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of good things and just allowing a lot of African-American kids who are younger than me who see kind of what I’m doing, I hope that can be an inspiration for them,” he told The Undefeated. “Go out and do something different against the typical stereotypes that most African-Americans play basketball, or whatever the case is.” There are only 13 Division 1 players who are Black, according to The Undefeated.
Black athletes will be making historic moves during the next Winter Olympics. Prior to Greenway and Biney’s milestones, Nigeria’s women’s bobsled team became the first group of Africans to qualify for that category in the Olympics.