Speedskater, Erin Jackson, has made history at the Winter Olympics this week, not for just one reason, but three! One – she is the first American woman to win Gold in the 500m race in over 28 years. Two – she is the first Black woman to win a medal in the sport of speed skating. Three – she is the first Black woman to win Gold for an individual event at the Winter Olympics.
This University of Florida alumni is originally from the city of Ocala, Florida and what’s truly amazing is Jackson first touched the ice in 2017. Although, she has been skating most of her life. At the age of ten, she began training for inline skating.
Unfortunately, Jackson had a slip during the qualifying trials, causing her to likely miss competing in the 500m at the 2022 Winter Olympics. That’s when her teammate and friend, Brittany Bowe, stepped in and gave Jackson her spot in the 500m race to ensure Jackson could have the chance to compete since Bowe had already qualified for the 1,000m and 1,500m in Beijing. Bowe is also from Ocala, Florida. Both Bowe and Jackson grew up inline skating together.
Right after the race, I knew that if it came down to me relinquishing my spot for her to be named on the team, I would do that because she deserves it.Brittany Bowe
In this true testament of friendship, both these women were able to compete for their country. Not only did Jackson have the opportunity to compete, but she also had the opportunity to break records and make history, which she did.
I cried immediately, it was just a big release of emotion. 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.Erin Jackson
This story is a fantastic example of how women supporting women can quite literally change the world for the better. What a proud moment for the United States as Jackson stood proudly on that podium holding her Gold medal. Congratulations Erin Jackson! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.