Erin Jackson Makes History As First Black Woman To Win Gold In Speedskating

Photo: Getty Images

Team USA's Erin Jackson made history at the Winter Olympics on Sunday (February 13), becoming the first Black woman to win gold in the individual speedskating event. Jackson is also the first woman from the US overall to win gold in this event since 1994 when Bonnie Blair did so.

The 29-year-old placed first at the 500m race, skating the course in a 37.04, finishing 0.08 seconds ahead of Miho Takagi of Japan who came in second and 0.17 seconds ahead of Russian Olympic Committee's Angelina Golikova who placed third.

"I cried immediately, it was just a big release of emotion," Jackson told reporters after the race. "A lot of shock, a lot of relief, and a lot of happiness. I haven't fully processed everything quite yet, but it just feels amazing."

According to CNN, Jackson almost missed out on competing in the 500m completely after she slipped during the qualifying trials. Her teammate, Brittany Bowe personally gave up her own spot to Jackson to ensure that the world's No.1-ranked woman's speedskater was able to go to the Winter Games.

"Right after the race, I knew that if it came down to me relinquishing my sport for her to be named on the team, I would do that because she deserves it," Bowe told reporters last week.

"She has earned the right to compete in her marquee event at the Olympics, and it was an honor to give her that spot for the opportunity to race for gold for Team USA."

Jackson described the "flood of emotion" she got when learning about Bowe's action, stating that, "you really don't know what you feel."

After winning Jackson said they hugged and "she said she is really proud of me, and I just said a lot of thank yous."

Bowe went on to also compete in the 500m speedskating event after several countries returned their qualifying spots which were reallocated to Team USA and other countries. Bowe finished 16th, at a time 38.04.

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