This year’s Winter Olympics is going to have a major dose of Black excellence with several African American athletes who are trailblazing paths to diversify in on-ice sports. Aja Evans, who is competing in the bobsledding category, is out to garner a gold medal and wants to use her platform as a way to inspire other people within the Black community to get involved in the sport, The Grio reported.
The 29-year-old Chicago native won a bronze medal at the 2014 Olympics and this time around she’s going for the gold. For Evans, competing in the Olympics this year is more than about taking home a gold medal, it’s about increasing racial representation within the sport and also changing the negative narrative surrounding her hometown of Chicago by showing that beyond the violence lies greatness in the city. Her story was recently featured in Procter and Gamble’s “Love Over Bias” campaign which highlights athletes who were encouraged by their mothers.
“I’m excited (about 2018 Winter Olympics) and I can’t wait to compete again,” said Evans in a statement, according to the source. “It is all about persistence, and never giving up.” Evans comes from a long line of athletes, her father played in the NFL for seven years and her uncle served as the former hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs.
This Winter Olympics season is one of many firsts for Black athletes. Nigeria’s women’s bobsled team made history as the first African team to participate in the category, Maame Biney became the first Black woman to make the U.S. Olympic speedskating team, and 20-year-old Jordan Greenway became the first Black man to be a part of Team USA’s hockey team at the Winter Olympic Games.