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Erin Jackson Of U.S. Becomes First Black Woman To Win Speedskating Gold

 

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.

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“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.

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Written by PH

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