Jackson becomes first Black woman to win speedskating medal at Olympics

Paul Newberry
AP National Writer

Beijing – Erin Jackson has become the first Black woman to win a speedskating medal at the Winter Olympics.

And a gold one, at that.

Jackson won the 500 meters Sunday with a time of 37.04 seconds, giving the American speedskating program its first speedskating medal of the Beijing Games and first individual medal since 2010.

But this one meant much more than national pride.

Erin Jackson of the United States reacts after her heat in the speedskating women's 500-meter race at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The 29-year-old Jackson, a former inline skater who switched to the ice shortly before the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, joined fellow American Shani Davis as the only Black athletes to win speedskating medals at the Olympics.

The silver went to Miho Takagi of Japan, while Angelina Golikova of the Russian team took the bronze.

Jackson’s gold came after the native of balmy Ocala, Florida, slipped at the U.S. trials and shockingly finished third, putting her spot on the Olympic team in jeopardy.

But teammate Brittany Bowe, who finished first at the trials, gave up her spot on the team to ensure Jackson would get to skate in Beijing.

As it turned out, the Americans received a third place in the 500 when the final allocations were made, so Bowe got to skate as well. She finished 16th.