Speedskater Erin Jackson has made history. The 29-year-old Florida native became the first Black woman athlete to earn a medal in speed skating after she came in first place during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. On Sunday (Feb. 13), Jackson finished her lap in the women’s 500-meter race with a time of 37.04 seconds.
“I think I cried immediately,” said Jackson to Team USA. “Just like a big release of emotion. A lot of shock, a lot of relief, and a lot of happiness.”
Team USA has not won a medal in speedskating since 2010 when Shani Davis won in the men’s 1,000-meter. When Davis won, he was the first Black American to win an Olympic Winter Games individual gold medal. Jackson hopes her win can inspire youth to pursue their goals.
“Hopefully, it has an effect,” Jackson remarked. “Hopefully, we can see more minorities, especially in the USA, getting out and trying some of these winter sports. And I just always hope to be a good example like especially with helping kids see that they don’t have to just choose one between school and sports.”
Jackson’s skills on wheels are not limited to speedskating. In fact, she only began the sport n 2017. She picked up inline skating when she was 10 years old in 2002 and has been a roller skater for as long as she can remember. Another skater Brittany Bowe offered Jackson her spot in the Olympic games after she struggled during the qualifying tournament. Bowe finished in 16th place.
“I knew she had the chance to do something really special and she just showed the world why she deserved to be here, and she’s Olympic champion,” shared Bowe.
Check out Erin Jackson’s historic lap below.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) February 13, 2022