For the first time, a Black woman has won Olympic speedskating gold

Mildred Europa Taylor February 14, 2022
Erin Jackson wins the gold medal during the Women's 500m on day nine of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Speed skater Erin Jackson won a gold medal for the U.S. on Sunday in the women’s 500m, making her the first Black woman to medal in speed skating at a winter Olympics. The year 1994 was the last time a U.S. woman won a speed skating gold at the Olympics.

“I wish I could describe how I feel, it is amazing,” 29-year-old Jackson told the media after the race. “This medal means so much. It has been a tough couple of years and a tough beginning for this year. For this to come around like this, I am so happy.”

Jackson almost didn’t compete in the 500m at the Olympics. She took third in the U.S. trials, the qualifying contest for the Olympics. This meant that she had lost a chance of racing in Beijing but her teammate and friend Brittany Bowe decided to give up her own spot in the 500-meter race to Jackson “because she deserves it.”

Bowe said at the time that she had a better chance to medal in the 1,000 meter and 1,500-meter events and so she was giving up her spot on the team to ensure Jackson would get to skate in Beijing. But 33-year-old Bowe ended up competing in the 500m as well after the International Skating Union’s final reallocation of places granted a third sprint quota spot to the U.S.

Jackson on Sunday finished the 500m with a time of 37.04 seconds ahead of Japan’s Miho Takagi in second and the Russian Olympic Committee’s Angelina Golikova in third.

“I had a little misstep on the backstretch, but I just tried to, I wouldn’t say recover, because it wasn’t anything big, but just tried to continue skating,” Jackson told the media after the race.

Jackson, who is a native of Ocala, Fla. took her first steps on the ice just six years ago, NPR reported. She previously competed in inline speed skating and roller derby.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 14, 2022


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