The speed skater Erin Jackson of the United States won its first career Olympic gold medal in the women’s 500m on Sunday.
The 29-year-old from Ocala, Fla. skated a time of 37.04 in the 14th duet to edge Japan Miho Takagi, who skated a 37.12 in the fourth pair. Takagi finished second. Angelina Golikova of the ROC finished third for bronze.
Jackson, a former inline skating MVP, won the first women’s 500m gold medal by an American since Bonnie Blair In 1994.
“I wish I could describe how I feel, it’s amazing,” Jackson told media after the race. “This medal means so much. It’s been a tough two years and a tough start to this year. For it to happen like this, I’m so happy.”
She began her speed skating career less than six months before the Olympic trials in 2018. She made the team and finished 24th in her Winter Olympic debut. She has since become a force in the sprint distance and is the leader in the World Cup standings this season.
Jackson’s victory marked the first podium at the 2022 Winter Olympics and an individual medal since 2010 for American speed skating. She also became the first black woman to win a gold medal in speed skating at the Olympics.
She almost missed the competition after slipping during the American trials. His long-time teammate and friend Brittany Bowe won the distance at the Olympic trials and gave up for Jackson to qualify.
Bowe’s primary distances are the 1,000 m and 1,500 m, and she felt that Jackson was the team’s best chance at winning gold. The United States gained another qualifying spot from the Olympic trials and Bowe finished 16th with a time of 38.04 on Sunday.