12 Outstanding, History-Making Black Winter Olympians

From being the first Black woman to earn a medal at the Winter Games to being the first to represent their countries, these exceptional Black athletes have made Winter Olympics history 

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History in the Making

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, begin on Feb. 3, which means that they coincide with Black History Month. Here, we're celebrating the accomplishments of the trailblazing, outstanding Black athletes who have made history at the Winter Olympics over the years.

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Debi Thomas

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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In 1988, Thomas won the bronze medal in figure skating and became the first Black athlete to medal at the Winter Games — all while she was still a student at Stanford University. She remains the only African American woman to win a medal in figure skating.

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Vonetta Flowers

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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Flowers, representing Team USA in the two-women blobsleigh, won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics, which made her the first Black athlete to win Winter Olympics gold. Pictured, she gets emotional while accepting her medal alongside teammate Jill Bakken.

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Jarome Iginla

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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In 2002, Iginla, representing Team Canada, became the second Black athlete to win gold at the Winter Olympics, taking his home as part of Canada's ice hockey team.

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Shani Davis

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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In 2006, while competing at the Winter Olympics in Turin, U.S. speed skater Davis became the first Black athlete to win gold in an individual competition.

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Elana Meyers Taylor

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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Meyers Taylor (right) became the first U.S. athlete, male or female, to medal as both a brakeman and driver in bobsled after winning bronze at the 2010 Winter Games and silver at the 2014 Winter Games. She also has a silver medal from the PyeongChang Games in 2018.

In 2022, the Olympian made history again, winning silver in the first ever women's monobob event.

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Lauryn Williams

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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Williams (right) was the first woman to win summer and winter Olympics medals. As a sprinter, she won gold in the 4x100m at the London 2012 Games and silver in the 100m at the Athens 2004 Games.

In 2014, she competed at the Sochi Olympics and won silver in the two-woman bobsled. Her teammate was none other than fellow trailblazer, Elana Meyers Taylor (left).

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Erin Jackson

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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Jackson was the first Black woman to be on the U.S. long-track speed skating team, qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics after learning to speed skate just four months prior.

Jackson, who is the world's top-ranked woman in the 500m event for speed skating, came in 3rd place at the recent U.S. Olympic trials in Milwaukee, nearly missing the opportunity to go to Beijing. Her teammate, Brittany Bowe, gave up her qualifying spot to ensure Jackson could compete.

While competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Jackson made history yet again when she became the first Black woman to win a solo medal in speed skating after coming out victorious in the 500m event.

She is also the first U.S. woman to win gold in speed skating at the Olympics in nearly 30 years, after Bonnie Blair placed first in 1994.

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Jordan Greenway

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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Greenway was the first African American player to compete for the United States in Olympic ice hockey when he played at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.

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Simidele Adeagbo

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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In 2018, Adeagbo made history as a member of Nigeria's first Winter Olympics team, and became the first Nigerian and African woman to compete in skeleton.

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Akwasi Frimpong

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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In 2018, Frimpong was Ghana's second athlete to ever compete in the Winter Olympics and the first to represent Ghana in skeleton.

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Sabrina Simander

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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Simander made history in 2018 when she competed at the Winter Games for Team Kenya — she was the only athlete representing the country that year — and became the first from her country to compete in Alpine skiing.

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Maame Biney

Outstanding Black Winter Olympians
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Biney, originally from Ghana, became the youngest skater and first Black woman to make a U.S. Olympic short track speed skating team and the second-ever African-born athlete to represent the United States in the Winter Olympics in 2018.

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