Maame Biney’s Alter Ego Gives Her a Competitive Edge and a Clear Mind

February 6, 2022

BEIJING — Maame Biney glides to the line, pulls her skates perpendicular, crouches in anticipation of the starting gun—and disappears. In her place is Anna Digger, rocketing around the speedskating track, slicing past opponents, glaring at everyone. Five hundred meters later, Anna crosses the line and goes right back to being Maame.

“Me, Maame, personally, I’m a very chill, like, laidback kind of person,” Biney says. “I think lazy would be the right word for it. I’m quite lazy. I don’t really want to do anything. I just want to sit on the couch and watch TV. But then Anna, she’s very, like, focused and really wants to get the work done.”

Biney, 22, does not have dissociative identity disorder. But she does suffer from anxiety, and over the past few years, she has found that the most effective remedy is to imagine herself as two people: Maame Biney, who sometimes becomes overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to win an Olympic gold medal, and Anna Digger, who does not.