By Erin Key
The last time we saw a black woman as a serious contender for an Olympic medal in figure skating was 1998 — her name was Surya.
For Black women, you often have to work twice as hard to get half as far. And Surya DID that. She is the first AND only female figure skater in history who completed an “illegal” and dangerous backflip, her signature move.
Her talent took her to championships around the world. After an outstanding performance at the Ladies’ Free Skate during the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships, she famously removed her medal and retired from skating four years later.
Flowers carved out her own place in history after transitioning from the world of track and field to bobsledding.
Flowers always had dreams of being an Olympic track & field athlete. But after coming up short at the Olympic trials in 1996 and 2000, a chance encounter had her trading in her spikes for a bobsled.
Alongside Jill Bracken, she snagged a medal in the two-woman bobsled event in 2002, becoming the first African-American to ever win gold at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.
Maame is only 17 years old and she’s already in the history books.
She was born in Ghana and moved to the United States as a five-year-old child, and started learning skating in Reston, Virginia.
Maame’s electrifying short-track speedskating made her one of the first Black women to be on the U.S. Olympic speed skating team in the 2018 Winter Olympics. We’ll see her next (likely snatching wigs and medals) at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
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