Maame Biney might have joined the rest of the world at about midday yesterday, PyeongChang Olympic time, or evening hours in the USA, cheering the last life or death run of Shaun White in the halfpipe. The snowboarding icon mustered a third 97.75 run to take the gold medal, conquering his hunting defeat from the Sochi games in 2014. This morning, videos of fans cheering White from all sorts of nooks and crannies are going viral, and this time, speedskater Maame Biney doesn’t have that kind of keepsake. The 18-year-old, born in Ghana, should take with her a deep inner satisfaction that cannot be measured in statistics.

She has reason to keep her beaming smile, sparkling laughter, and the forever memories in her heart, knowing she'll be back for more.

A daddy-daughter journey

It doesn't take a strictly speedskating fan to fall in love with Maame Biney, and the story of fatherly and family devotion behind the athlete. Kweku Biney began the trek of his life in the early 80s, leaving Accra, Ghana and hitchhiking through the Sahara Desert until he reached Alicante, Spain. The over 2000 miles between were spent in stays in France, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. It's no wonder that dad Biney has a daughter with unquenchable vigor and spirit. “I could go anywhere by myself. I wasn't afraid of anything, “ he relates. The United States was always his intended destination, and in 1984, he had enough money saved for the flight stateside, and settled in Hyattsville, Maryland, long before his daughter was born

Maame Biney would not be able to visit her dad in his new home until 2005, but by the second day, she already had decided that she wasn't going to go back to Ghana.

A trip to JCPenney was completely spellbinding to her, as the five-year-old ran through the whole store, gushing “I want this” at every rack. Daddy did by her a few things, but beyond that first day, he wanted to channel Maame’s energy and excitement into purpose.

“I don't exactly remember because I was a five-year-old,” she explained to Megyn Kelly on her hour of “Today” for February 14, describing being on the ice, or even seeing it for the first time, in a rink.

“I think he (her father) wanted to keep me out of trouble, but then I got into it” she admits, and “Here I am!” exudes Biney in her characteristic high voice. The training was a steep expense on a maintenance man's income, but Kweku Biney kept making it possible.

Speedskating was a natural fit for Maame, who was “too fast” for any routine in figure skating.

The coach recommended her for speed skating, and at the 2018 Olympics, everyone has come to know the Maame Biney style of laughter and love.

Brushing heartache aside with a smile

Kweku Biney has become known for his message on signs to “Kick Some Hiney, Biney,” and his daughter has been doing just that since taking the bronze medal in the 2017 Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships. In December, she was selected for the 2018 US Olympic team, becoming the first African-American female speed skater.

The 500-meter event is a signature one for Maame Biney, but she failed to have her characteristic fast start in the quarterfinals this week. She came in fourth to Russian contender Sofia Prosvirnova, and Arianna Fontana from Italy later took the gold medal.

“It was a big shock to me,” Maame Biney admitted, as she described never getting her “rhythm” back. She was practicing her breathing exercises to calm her nerves, but being on the “big stage” before the world at the Olympics is an experience no one can prepare for, particularly at just 18. The buoyant young woman brushed a tear from her cheek.

Not alone

Maame Biney has more to do at the 2018 Olympics. She'll be racing in the 1500 meter distance, and she won't be alone. She playfully described her good friend, and alter ego, Anna Digger, who is “the fierce” side of the joyous skater on the track. Maame admits that Anna wasn’t able to make an appearance earlier, but insists that she will be present on Saturday, and “ready to kick some booty!”

Her most important cheerleader, her father, will be heard from the stands once more, and Maame dedicates “this moment, all these moments are for him.” No matter if she takes a medal or not, this shared bond of love and sacrifice endures as golden. 2022 is just a blink away from her bright eyes.