Happy Black History Month!
Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an Olympic athlete? Not just anyone can become an Olympian because it's challenging. Being an Olympic medalist is even more complicated. Let's check out some black athletes who have represented their nations at the Olympics over the years, those who have made black history, and those who are currently making black history.
Erin Jackson is an American speed skater, derby skater and inline skater who has become the world's top female speed skater. This year Erin will be rejoining Team USA at this year's Beijing Winter Olympics. Erin started figure skating at just eight years old and became the first black American woman to win the Speed-skating World Cup in 2021.
Learn more about Erin Jackson.
Cynthia Appiah is a Canadian Olympic bobsledder. Born in Toronto to Ghanaian-Canadian parents, Cynthia has competed since 2014. However, Cynthia had her biggest setback in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic games in South Korea, realizing that she'd be an alternate on the Canadian women's bobsleigh team instead of the pilot. It nearly made Cynthia quit her athletic career, which she owes to the drive and support she received from her family.
Cynthia says, "You have to put in 100 percent to achieve your goals in a CBC interview. When you're striving for the Olympics, you can't be a part-time athlete."
This year, Cynthia will be competing at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as a pilot of Team Canada's bobsled team. We can't wait to see her shine!
Ashleigh Johnson is an American Olympic-level water polo player who plays goalkeeper. She is the first black female on the US Olympic water polo team. Ashleigh is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, having won gold medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. She was also named female water player of the year by Swimming World from 2014-to 2019 and played on the varsity team at Princeton University.
Phylicia George is a Canadian dual-season Olympian bobsledder and track & field runner from Ontario. Phylicia had competed at the London 2012 Olympics and Rio de Janeiro in track and field when she made her debut as a bobsledder for Team Canada at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games and won a bronze medal.
Paige McPherson is an Afro-Filipino American taekwondo champion. Paige became the first American female to compete in taekwondo in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In addition, she continued her winning streak, as she recently won a bronze medal at the 2021 London Olympics.
Simone Biles is an American gymnast who made history at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games when she became the first female American gymnast to win four gold medals at the Olympic games.
"Everyone around you can tell you, 'Oh, you can do this,' but then whenever you really start to believe in yourself, that when it comes to life. But you also have to be a little bit fearless."
We're grateful that Simone shows us her fearless regardless of what she does. Whether she's competing for the gold medal or withdrawing from competing to put her mental health first, we love her for trying.
Andre De Grasse
Andre De Grasse is a Canadian professional sprinter and an Olympic champion from Ontario. He was the first Canadian sprinter to win 3 medals at the 2020 Olympics. His 200m Olympic gold win was Canada's first gold win in the 200m in 93 years.
Did you know that Andre de Grasse has won a medal in every Olympic game he has competed in? We definitely have to watch out for Andre because he's on fire, and we look forward to what he'll achieve next.
Simone Manuel is an American Olympic-level swimmer and diver who won gold in the 2016 Rio de Janerio Olympic Games. Simone was the first black woman to win gold in an individual swimming event.
Contrary to the mainstream stereotype black people can't swim, Simone breaks down those stereotypes and paves black history.
Usain Bolt is the world's fastest man, nicknamed "Mr. Lightning". Usain is a Jamaican track and field Olympian. Usain, is arguably one of the greatest sprinters of all time, having won gold at the Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Usain currently holds both the Olympic and world record for the fastest 100m and 200m races. He's an inspiration to many for his love for the sport and passion for doing his best.
"No matter how far you get ahead of me. I'm gonna catch you. That's my mentality." says Usain Bolt.
We love that Usain reminds and inspires those who to look up to him not to be afraid to chase their dreams.
Gabby Douglas is an American Gymnast champion and Olympian who blew us away at the London 2012 Olympics. She made black history when she became the first American woman to win individual and team gold medals.