Erin Jackson, along with fellow American Shani Davis, are the only black athletes to win a medal in speed skating at the Olympics.

BEIJING, Hebei – Erin Jackson has never seen himself as a forerunner. She just loves to slide really, really fast, whether it’s with a wheel or with a blade.

The video above is from an earlier report.

However, this 29-year-old from Ocala, Florida knows that this moment is special, her chance to really make an impact for generations to come.

She will forever be known as the first black woman to win a medal in speed skating at the Winter Olympics – and a gold medal at the time.

“Hopefully this works,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we’ll see more minorities, especially in the United States, get out and try these winter sports.”

Jackson won the 500 meters on Sunday with a time of 37.04 seconds, giving the US speed skating program its first medal at the Beijing Games and its first individual medal since 2010.

But this isn’t just a much-needed boost to a sport that has produced more medals than any other sport for the United States in Winter Olympics history.

29-year-old Jackson, a former inline skater who switched to the ice rink shortly before the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, joined fellow American Shani Davis to become the only black athlete to win a medal in speed skating. distance at the Olympics.

Now, she wants others to follow in their footsteps as a sport that attracts little attention in the United States.

“I just hope it does something for the sport,” she said. “I always try to be a good example.”

Silver went to Japan’s Miho Takagi, while Russia’s Angelina Golikova won bronze.

Jackson’s gold medal came after she failed at the US test and came in a stunning third, putting her place on the Olympic team in jeopardy.

But teammate Brittany Bowe, another Ocala skater who finished first at the trials, gave up her spot in the 500 to ensure Jackson would compete in Beijing.

Jackson said: “She made a huge sacrifice for me. “I will be grateful to her forever.”

Turns out, the Americans received third place out of 500 when the final allotment was made, so Bowe had to skate as well. She is 16th.

The two best friends hugged and kissed after Jackson won the gold.

“She hugged me and we cried,” said the winner. “She said she was really proud of me and I said a lot of thanks.”

Jackson skated next to last out of 15 pairs with Takagi’s time of 37.12 – set about half an hour earlier in the fourth pairing – in her sights.

She thought nothing of that slip at the US courts.

“It’s not something to really focus on,” Jackson said. “It was a stroke of luck.”

Jackson finished off the line and stayed under Takagi’s time as she powerfully moved into the first turn. She continued her acceleration through the straight crosswalk and, on her final turn, swung both arms furiously as she reached the finish line of the shortest race in speed skating.

As soon as her skates crossed the line, Jackson’s head turned toward the scoreboard.

She broke out into a big smile when she saw the “1” next to her name. Her trainer, Ryan Shimabukuro, clapped and clapped with her as she passed.

There was still a pair left, but Jackson knew she couldn’t do worse than bronze.

Minutes later, the gold was hers.

“You are the Olympic champion,” Shimabukuro told her.

Jackson sat on the cushions along the courtyard, his head down in tears.

Without a doubt, she is also contemplating her remarkable journey.

The inline skater and roller skater knows she’ll have to trade her wheels for blades if she wants to win Olympic glory.

Making the switch just months before the Pyeongchang Olympics, she researched so quickly that she earned a spot on the United States team. She’s 24th out of the 500, but it’s clear that she’s barely exploited her full potential.

In the current World Cup season, Jackson has suddenly emerged as one of the best sprinters in the world. She won four of eight 500 races — the first Black woman to win one of those titles as well — and arrived at the Olympics as one of the favorites.

“When I won my first World Cup, I said, ‘OK, that’s weird. Let’s see where it goes,” Jackson recalls. “Then I won another and I said, ‘Well, maybe I can do this.'”

She has lived her life to the fullest in Beijing, becoming the first American woman to win an individual Olympic medal since 2002.

“Words can’t explain how proud I am of her,” Bowe said. “I knew she had the opportunity to do something really special, and she showed the world why she deserves to be here.”

Jackson grabbed an American flag and performed a victory lap around the Ribbon oval, stars and stripes fluttering above her head.

“It was a wild ride,” she said, “but that makes it even sweeter.”

Copyright © 2022 of the Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Erin Jackson, along with fellow American Shani Davis, are the only black athletes to win a medal in speed skating at the Olympics.

Dais Johnston

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