Olympian and Reston, Virginia resident Maame Biney became the first woman to nab a gold medal at the World Junior Short Track Championships, U.S. Speedskating said.
Biney skated into first place in each 500 m race she entered on Saturday at the competition in Poland, and completed her first-place finish in 44.305 seconds.
“It feels really good,” Biney told U.S. Speedskating. “I felt like I really deserved it today and I’m really happy. I just raced my race and made sure not to overestimate anyone.”
The second-place winner, Hungary's Petra Jaszapati, narrowly missed an Olympic medal in last month’s Pyeongchang games and finished about five one-hundredths behind Biney at the championships.
Biney was born in Ghana and bean speedskating in Reston after moving to the U.S. with her father. She was ready for a win after falling short in last month in the Pyeongchang Olympics quarterfinals.
“This is a huge boost from the Olympics since I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Biney told U.S. Speedskating. “This means that I’m really ready for the World Cup stage and can continue to get better.”
Two other U.S. women have won bronze medals at the World Junior Short Track Championships. Biney’s is the first gold medal that a U.S. athlete will take home from the competition since J.R. Celski’s 2009 win.
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North Potomac, Maryland resident Gabriella Hachem also competed in the women’s 500 m, and made it to the heat round.
Fairfax’s Brandon Kim finished third in two men’s events, the 500 m B final and 1500 m B Final. In those events, Kim placed in the top 10 overall.
Jonathan So, of Herndon, also competed in the semifinals.