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History Made: Erin Jackson Is The First Black Woman To Win Olympic Speed Skating Medal

History Made: Erin Jackson Is The First Black Woman To Win Olympic Speed Skating Medal

And she took home GOLD!

After Team USA's Erin Jackson finished her lap in 37.04 seconds in the women’s 500-meter speed skating Olympic race on Sunday, she made history as the first Black woman to win a speed skating medal at the Winter Games, NBC News reports.

The history making moment arrives four years after Jackson made her Olympic debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. In fact, it was only about six years ago when she first stepped foot on the ice, as the former inline skating champion made a transition to the ice nearly two years before the 2018 Olympics. 

Her epic Olympic return comes after finishing third at the Olympic trials. However, her teammate Brittany Bowe (who finished first) made sure that Jackson, the world's top-ranked speed skater, would have a spot on Team USA, giving up her own spot in the 500-meter race. 

“She made a really big sacrifice for me,” Huff Post reports Jackson saying. “I’ll be grateful to her forever.”

While Bowe still ended up with an opportunity to compete in the same race after Team USA later found out they secured a third spot, the sacrifice she made before final allocations were made, ended up being completely worth it. 

Jackson, the first Black woman speed skater to qualify for Team USA, went on to also become the first Black woman to win a Gold medal in speed skating, the first to win an individual women’s medal for the U.S. since 2002, and the first American to win an individual speed skating medal since Shani Davis at the 2010 Vancouver Games. The newly-minted Gold medalist joins Davis as the only two Black athletes to win long-track speed skating medals at the Olympics. 

“Hopefully, this has an effect,” Jackson, said. “Hopefully, we’ll see more minorities, especially in the USA, getting out and trying these winter sports.”

The 29-year-old, a current roller derby player and University of Florida engineering alumna, has been roller skating since the age of eight. Since then, Jackson has earned 12 world championship level medals and 47 national titles as an inline skater – and has achieved several firsts in the speed skating world, including now an Olympic gold medal.

Her historic victory at the 2022 Winter Olympics is reminder that the possibilities are truly endless. 

Congratulations, Erin! Keep blazing your own trail own and off the ice. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki