It’s not a shock to see people from the region competing in the Olympics. Several Team USA members who competed in last summer’s games held ties to Northern Virginia — and the area is home to both swim and skate clubs that have produced Olympic athletes. While this year’s games also comes with a diplomatic boycott, with no high-ranking U.S. officials attending due to human rights abuse complaints against China, American athletes are still gearing up to bring home the gold. Ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, held from February 3-20, here are the Northern Virginia natives you can watch out for during the games.
Short track speedskating – Reston
As the first Black woman to compete on a U.S. short track speedskating team, Ghana-born and Reston-raised Maame Biney is looking ahead to this year’s games. The almost 22-year-old, who was very vocal about using her platform for advocacy during the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in 2020, began skating at the age of 6. Biney previously competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics after winning the 500m at qualification. At the games, she placed 14th in the 500m and 31st in the 1500m. Biney has other world championship experience — most recently at the 2018-19 Short Track Junior World Championships, where she won the gold for the 500m. Biney was also named to the 2021 fall world cup team. When not speeding across the ice, Biney is a fan of Five Guys fries and listening to Doja Cat.
Freestyle skiing – Ashburn
Ashburn-raised Ashley Caldwell made it to the Olympics after only two years of full-time training. Initially a gymnast, she was inspired to try out aerial skiing after watching it at the 2006 Winter Olympics held in Turin, Italy. Caldwell is a three-time Olympian, having competed in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 winter games. She placed 10th at both the 2010 and 2014 games in aerials. Aside from the Olympics, Caldwell has other competition experience set on a global stage. In 2016, she was the FIS World Cup Champion, and in 2017 she earned gold at the aerial skiing world championships. When not skiing, Caldwell spends her time remaining active, with her hobbies including surfing, scuba diving, and sailing. She also plays guitar.
Figure skating – Fairfax
Being hailed as the future of the sport and being called “nothing short of spectacular” by fellow athletes, this Fairfax native could see a shot at this year’s games as the first alternate for the U.S. men’s figure skating team. Ilia Malinin placed second in the national championships earlier this month. Veteran figure skaters made the final cut over the 17-year-old, but they all complimented on the impressive performance that earned him the silver. Malinin’s parents were both Olympic figure skaters for Uzbekistan — and they serve as his coaches through their home rink in Reston. When not on the ice, Malinin likes to unplug by listening to music, as well as skateboarding and playing soccer and basketball.
Michael Parsons and Caroline Green
Ice dance – Washington, DC
After being partners since only 2019, this ice dance duo has competed to become the first alternate for the U.S. figure skating team. Michael Parsons and Caroline Green, who train in Leesburg, earned the ice dance title at the Four Continents figure skating competition this past Friday, the biggest win of their career together. They placed fourth at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championship. The ice dancers both previously skated with their siblings, with Parsons beginning his figure skating journey at 7 and Green at 5. The two also share the same birthday, born 8 years apart. In their downtime, Green spends her time supporting Lab Rescue and Rainbow Women’s Shelter, and Parsons enjoys playing guitar, cooking, and skiing.
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