Maame Binet - Born in Ghana, has become one of Team USA's best on the Olympic Short Track. (Courtesy of Jon Gaede).

Last Updated on March 14, 2022 by BVN

Jon Gaede | Black Voice News

Any individual Olympic achievement, or the color of a coveted medal an athlete may earn, can overshadow the true meaning of why Olympians compete and the lasting impression they leave.

Facing great challenges, USA Bobsled’s Elana Meyers-Taylor was remarkable in Beijing.

Elana Meyers-Taylor, played softball at George Washington University, but failed to make the US team in that sport. Undaunted, she then attempted a completely new sport, Women’s bobsled. Four Winter Olympics later, Meyers-Taylor won her fifth Olympic medal, surpassing the great American speed skater Shani Davis.

On January 19th, Meyers-Taylor, upon arriving in Beijing,  tested positive for COVID- 19. She was initially selected to carry the US flag during the Opening Ceremony, but was sent directly to quarantine isolation. She eventually provided two negative tests and joined her teammates on the Olympic sliding hill. 

Meyers-Taylor promptly took silver in the first ever Olympic “Monobob” event and a bronze in the traditional bobsled.

The names of Erin Jackson and Brittany Bowe will always be connected

One of the most compelling stories to develop prior to the games in Beijing, involved the kind gesture of American Speed Skater Brittany Bowe to her teammate Erin Jackson, two names that will always be connected. Jackson, the number one 500 meter Speed Skater in the world, failed to qualify at the trials. Then, Bowe gave up her slot to Jackson, so she could compete in her specialty in Beijing. Jackson promptly won the gold in the 500 meter Speed Skate, as Bowe added her second Olympic bronze medal in the 1000 meter race.

Shaun White, the “Red Tomato,” a name synonymous with Olympic Half Pipe, completes his final journey.

Born in the San Diego area like Elana Meyers-Taylor, Shaun White, aka “Red Tomato,” has carved out quite a career in the sport of Snowboarding and is easily the most successful all time Olympic athlete in the sport of Half Pipe. The five time Olympian and three-time gold medal winner, came up short on his final Olympic run at Genting Snow Park.

White announced his retirement from Olympic competition at Genting

Shaun White’s natural ability, personality and prolific career, has created an industry of snowboarding around the world. Known for gold medals upon the biggest stages at both the “X Games” and “Olympic Games,” and always pushing the progression of the sport for over 20 years. White announced his retirement from Olympic competition after competing at Genting.

While the world looks on, younger and more compelling athletes constantly emerge

For little girls everywhere, especially those of color, Olympic performances can certainly inspire the next generation. While the world looks on, new and more compelling athletes constantly emerge. Erin Jackson’s persistent desire to “go fast” led her to an Olympic gold medal in the 500 meter Speed Skating final. Both Karen Chen and Alysa Liu had impressive performances in Figure Skating Free Dance, but fell short of the podium in Beijing.

Vanessa James of France, one of the very few Black skaters in her sport, competed at a high level in Figure Skating Pairs event at Beijing. Maame Binet, born in Ghana, one of USA’s best Short Track skaters, did not medal in Beijing, but made a strong showing in all her races, as her international and Olympic careers continue.

Jon Gaede

While on assignment for GamePro Magazine in 1996, Jon Gaede met former Black Voice Sports Editor, Leland Stein at a Los Angeles Lakers’ game. They formed a working relationship which has endured for 24 years. In addition to African safaris, theater productions, Footsteps to Freedom Tours with Black Voice News Publisher Emeritus Cheryl Brown, concerts and portraits, Jon’s true passion comes from shooting action sports images. Jon has covered a variety of prep, collegiate and professional sports from track & field to boxing, including six Olympic Games.