Short-track speed skater Maame Biney's enthusiasm is contagious

There probably wasn’t anyone more excited at the Opening Ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang than United States short-track speed skater Maame Biney.

Biney, 18, was the star of the pre-Opening Ceremony interviews on NBC because of her enthusiasm for being at her first Games.

“I feel so ecstatic, I’m like oh geez!” Biney said. “I think it hit, I think it finally hit. I’m actually here at the Olympic Games. Holy cow. It’s awesome.”

Biney is the United States champion in the 500 meters and the first black woman to qualify for an American speed skating team at the Winter Olympics. When asked by former short-track skater Apolo Anton Ohno about her infectious attitude serving as an inspiration for others, she said she was proud to take on that responsibility.

“Well thank you for letting me be that girl,” Biney said. “I’m here for that. I want to inspire you guys. Just, like, be an inspiration to you guys. Just go out there and have fun. Just go out there and do whatever you like to do and have fun with it.”

That last sentence is pretty good advice.

United States’ Maame Biney skates during a short track speed skating training session prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)e

Biney is competing in the 1500M in addition to the 500M. Preliminary heats for the 500M begin on Saturday.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!