OLYMPICS RECAP DAY ONE: MAAME BINEY ADVANCES TO 500M SPEED SKATING QUARTERFINAL; BIGGINS FINISHES FIFTH IN CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

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By Liz Alper

Photo:  Kexin Fan of China leads Maame Biney of the United States during the Ladies’ 500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.  Photo via Zimbio

February 10, 2018 (Gangneung, South Korea) - The opening ceremony may have just ended, but Maame Biney was just getting started.

The 18-year-old, born in Ghana but now residing in Reston, Virginia, beat out China's Kexin Fan to advance to the semifinals in the women's 500-meter speed skating competition.

Though speed skating is South Korea's strongest event, Biney, only the second African-born athlete to represent Team USA, beat out Alang Kim, representing the host nation and who finished third, with a time of 43.665 seconds.

The semifinals and finals of the women's 500m will be held on Tuesday.

In other American news, cross country skiier Jessie Diggins missed out on a medal, finishing fifth, but made Olympic history with the highest Olympic finish in cross country skiing ever by an American.

In luge, Chris Mazdzer sits in a perilous fourth place after the first two heats on Saturday, 0.218 seconds off of the lead held by German luge king Felix Loch.  The final two runs are Sunday, with Mazdzer having to beat Austria's David Gleirscher and Russia's Roman Repilov.

Though not medaling, Kevin Bickner registered the best men's ski jumping performance by an American in 16 years, finishing 18th.