The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are finally here—and so is your excuse to cancel all social outings from now until the closing ceremony on February 25.
Team USA athletes are already making waves. Here are some of the people of color looking to add to the history-making moments this year.
Nathan Chen, Figure Skater
Eighteen-year-old Nathan Chen took the ice during the figure skating competition last night to represent the United States and his native Utah. Chen fell a lot during his routine, but he did perform the first ever quadruple flip in Olympics history. Mostly everyone had lackluster performances during the first round and the time change could be to blame. But he’s ready to go at it again and promises to clean things up for his next competition.
Maame Biney, Short Track Speedskater
Hailing from Ghana but racing for the U.S., Maame Biney, 18, is ready to make history and live up to high expectations. As the first Black woman to make the Olympic speed skating team, a video of Biney qualifying for the games went viral back in December. Her explosiveness will be on full display starting Saturday.
Erin Jackson, Speed Skater
Biney’s got quite the teammate in Erin Jackson, who will also make history as the first Black woman to compete for the U.S. in long-track speed skating. Skating aside, Jackson’s doing it for little Black girls who have never seen someone who looks like them dominate in the sport. “I’m looking forward to being in the Winter Olympics and showing, okay, we do have some representation in these sports,” she told Time.
Shani Davis, Speed Skater
At the age of 35, Shani Davis is ready to build on his already historical long-track speed skating legacy. He was the first Black athlete to win an individual gold medal in a Winter Olympics in the ’06 Torino games and is ready to give it one more go, with this being his fifth Olympic appearance. “[I] just wanted to get back there and be in the Olympic moment and get back to my best skating and go out and fight one more time,” Davis told NBC.
Simidele Adeagbo, Sleigh
Americans aren’t the only ones looking to make history—the rest of the world is, too. Nigeria’s Simidele Adeagbo is the first Black female athlete to compete in skeleton. This is Adeagbo’s second coming, as she was previously a track star who nearly qualified for Team USA in the triple jump in both 2004 and 2008. But now she’s ready to win. “This is about breaking barriers in winter sports,” she told Nike.
Elana Meyers Taylor, Bobsledder
Elana Meyers Taylor suffered a heartbreaking loss during the Sochi Olympics when she missed out on winning a gold medal by a tenth of a second. But she’s coming back stronger in her third Olympics appearance to hopefully stand at the top of the podium. Waiting years for redemption is nothing new to the Meyer family—her dad Eddie set Navy rushing records and was destined to play for the NFL, but duty wouldn’t let him.
Jordan Greenway, Hockey
Yes, Black people play hockey, too, and sometimes it’s at the highest level possible. Jordan Greenway, a 20 year old from Canton, N.Y., will be the first Black player to join the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. Greenway knows a thing or two about gold medals because he won one at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. He turned down playing offers out of high school to attend Boston University instead.
Marai Nagasu, Figure Skater
Nagasu is the second American woman to land a triple Axel in competition and the Cali native has been on the world’s largest stage since her debut at the 2010 Winter Games. She’s the underdog coming into the PyeongChang games, but it’s not going to stop her from attempting to be the first U.S. figure skater in history to land a triple Axel at the Olympics. And if she’s able to stick it, her ten years atop the sport will all be worth it.