What it Takes to Be an Olympian in High School



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Many dream of being on the greatest stage in sports as an Olympian, and for 3 young high school athletes that dream is now a reality. What they say it takes to get their is a lot of persistence, sacrifice and support.

Maame Biney, Team USA, 18,  Speed Skater
Maame was introduced to skating at the age of 6, after moving to Reston, Virginia to live with her dad.  One day during the drive home they passed a sign that read “learn how to skate this fall.”  Her dad, Kweku, asked if she was interested and had to explain to her what ice skating was, being born in Ghana and having lived their prior to moving with her dad, she had never experienced anything cold. She started figure skating at the age of 6 and later switched to speed skating at the recommendation of her coach.

Last year she made her debut at the Junior Olympics in Austria, where she won bronze in the 500m and placed 7th overall.  She later had her break out moment during the 2017 Olympic trials (video ) where she dominated in the 500m races winning both A finals to solidify her as a top qualifier for the Olympics.

Her Olympic dream is one that she shares with her dad who is her greatest supporter.  And, although she adores her high school friends and experiences, her last year of school consists of online classes and college applications while she lives with her host family and trains in Salt Lake City, Utah.

With her dreams of becoming her Olympian she is is looking forward to winning Gold and has already made history as the 1st African American woman to compete in the Olympics as a short track speed skater.

Maame Biney, 500m Olympic Trials

Chloe Kim, Team USA, 17, Snowboarder

Chloe started snowboarding at the age of 6.  She lived with her mom and dad who migrated to the US from South Korea.  Her parents were travelling agents and father was a major supporter of her skateboarding. At the age of 13, Chloe Kim was too young to compete in the 2014 Olympics, but that didn’t stop her from her dreaming gold.  At  the 2014 Olympics, she had already won her 1st silver medal at the X Games becoming the youngest competitor to do so.

Two years shy of the 15 year old age limit to compete in the Olympics, she had four years to prepare for the Soschi Olympics this year.  She is the most anticipated talent of the Winter games, having so much experience and prior accomplishments under her belt at such a young age. Yet the anticipation does not amount to pressure for Chloe when it is time for competition. She explains, skateboarding for her is as comfortable and 2nd nature as it is to do anything else.

Since middle school Chloe has been home schooled. At the height of training she would get up as early as 4 am to travel to up to five hours away for training while living in Switzerland with family. Once she returned to the states, her daily training continued to increase and her family moved to La Palma where the would travel 4/12 to 5 hours to the Mammoth Mountains so she could train with the best.

Chloe is now finishing up her last year of high school online and applying for colleges something that her dad has helped and guided her through since she took her first mountain climb. But this very moment is what she and her family has long awaited for and her sights are set on Gold!

Nathan Chen, Team USA, 18,  Figure Skating
Since Nathan Chen first stepped into an ice rink at the early age of 3 he has kept that routine everyday, never missing one day without skating.  At the age of 10 he impressed the skating world with is technique and competitive style.  He is currently the only male skater with 5 different types of quadruple jumps and when he’s not skating he tries to stay as normal as possible.  He credits his mom for keeping a pretty stable teenage life that included gymnastics and hockey and hanging out with friends and family until he loomed in on his 2018 Soschi Olympics dream.

His mom and dad has helped him to keep his normal balance amidst a very vigorous training schedule that now includes online home-schooling and strengthening his jumping prowess.  In 2017 ,he began training in Canton, Ohio with renowned coach and choreographer Marina Zoueva, who trained 2014 ice dance gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White.  He was always a strong jumper but wanted to improve his routine artistically.

Chen is always looking to challenge himself and take his next big jump.  After winning the 2017 U.S. national championships and accomplishing his greatest routine becoming the first figure skater to complete 5 big jumps, he is now taking his greatest jump at the 2018 Olympics for Gold and hoping that his life with move back to normalcy once he begins college in the Fall.

See the full Olympics winter schedule here http://www.nbcolympics.com/full-schedule.


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