Monday, February 19, 2018
Roughly 6 percent—or 178 Olympians—of all athletes in in this year’s games are competing for a country they weren’t born in. In fact, 12 countries are represented by athletes that are exclusively foreign-born, including Nigeria, Tonga, Bermuda, and Thailand. One of these athletes is Maame Biney, who immigrated to the United States from Ghana at age five. She is the first black woman on the U.S. Olympic speedskating team and has stunned viewers with her agility on the ice.
Another early favorite on the American team, snowboarding gold medalist Chloe Kim, whose story we have relayed previously, has an immigrant background. Her father immigrated from South Korea in 1982, bringing only $300 and a Korean-English dictionary to the United States. He spoke little English and didn’t have a college degree, but wanted to pursue a better life for himself and ultimately his family. After winning her first gold medal on Monday, Kim acknowledged the hardship her father faced coming to the United States: “Leaving your life behind and chasing your dream because your kid is passionate about this sport. I think today I did it for my family, and I am so grateful to them.”
Ironically, many of the U.S. athletes—whom are either children of immigrants or immigrants themselves—would have likely been barred from entering the United States under the merit-based system proposed by President Trump.
Here is more on immigrants in the Olympics.