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Ocala’s Erin Jackson becomes the first Black woman to win gold in Olympic speedskating

Beijing Olympics Speedskating
Erin Jackson of the United States hoists an American flag after winning the gold medal in the speedskating women’s 500-meter race at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Florida native Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics after completing the 500 meter event in 37.04 seconds in Beijing on Sunday.

Japan’s Miho Takagi and Angelina Golikova took home Silver and Bronze respectively.

Jackson darted off the line at the start of her event, looking to beat Takagi’s time of 37.12, and threw her arms in the air when she saw her first place finish appear on the scoreboard.

The 29 year old had been an inline skater before switching to ice speedskating ahead of the 2018 Winter Games where she finished 24th.

Jackson nearly missed her opportunity to skate for Team USA when she finished third during trials but was ensured a spot when teammate Brittany Bowe gave up her first place position to give Erin a place on the team.

Bowe ended up finishing 16th.

A graduate of the University of Florida, Jackson began figure skating when she was 8 years old and won gold medals for inline skating at the 2009 Junior World Championships and the 2014 Pan American Championships.

She joins Chicago’s Shani Davis who made history by winning the gold medal in the 1000m speedskating event at the 2006 Winter Olympics, becoming the first African American in an individual event to do so.