Erin Jackson (born September 19, 1992) is an American speed skater, roller skater, and Olympic gold medalist. Jackson is the first black woman to win a gold medal in an individual event at the Winter Olympics; she qualified for the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, where she competed in road and track distances in inline skating. She also qualified for the 500m track event in speed skating at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
In November 2021, she won the 500m race at the Speed Skating World Cup in Poland with two track records, becoming the first black American woman to win the World Cup.
On February 13, 2022, Jackson won gold in the women’s 500m speed skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. She was the first black American woman to win a medal in speed skating.
And she won a gold medal, too!
According to NBC News, in the women’s Olympic speed skating 500m, Erin Jackson of the US team made history by becoming the first black woman to win a medal in Winter Olympic speed skating by completing a lap in 37.04 seconds.
This historic moment comes four years after Jackson made her debut at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. In fact, it was the first time the former inline skating champion had been on the ice in nearly six years, since she made her transition to the ice nearly two years before the 2018 Olympics.
She made a spectacular return to Olympic competition, finishing third in the Olympic Trials. However, teammate Brittany Bowe (1st place) gave up her spot in the 500m race to allow Jackson, one of the world’s top speed skaters, to join Team USA.
According to HuffPost, Jackson said, “She made a very big sacrifice for me. I will be forever grateful to her.”
Ball later had the opportunity to compete in the same race when it was revealed that the U.S. team took third place, but the sacrifice she made before her final assignment was well rewarded in the end.
The first black female athlete to win a gold medal in speed skating, Jackson became the first American to win a gold medal in speed skating since 2002 and the first American to win an individual medal in speed skating since Shani Davis at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Davis is the first American to win an individual medal in speed skating since Shani Davis at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This gold medal makes her, along with Davis, the only black athlete to win an Olympic medal in speed skating long track.
Hopefully, this will have an impact,” Jackson said. I hope this will encourage more minorities to try winter sports, especially in the United States.
The 29-year-old, now a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Engineering and an active roller skater, began rollerblading when he was 8 years old. Since then, Jackson has won 12 world championship-level medals and 47 national titles as an inline skater, and has achieved several firsts in speed skating, including this Olympic gold medal.
Her historic victory at the 2022 Winter Olympics is a reminder that the possibilities are truly endless.