Winter Olympics: American Erin Jackson wins speedskating gold

U.S. Olympian Erin Jackson made history Sunday when she became the first Black woman to medal in speedskating at the Winter Olympics, earning gold in the women’s 500-meter race.

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Jackson, 29, won the event with a time of 37.04 seconds, beating out Miho Takagi of Japan by 0.08 seconds. The Russian Olympic Committee’s Angelina Golikova won third place with a time of 37.21 seconds.

Jackson’s win made her only the second Black athlete to win a long-track speedskating medal at the Olympics, joining fellow American Shani Davis, according to The Associated Press. She is the first American woman to earn a gold medal in speedskating since 1994, when Bonnie Blair took home the gold, according to CNN.

“I wish I could describe how I feel. It is amazing,” Jackson said after her win, according to ESPN. “This medal means so much. It has been a tough couple of years and a tough beginning for this year. For this to come around like this, I am so happy.”

The Ocala, Florida, native nearly missed competing in this year’s Winter Olympics after a slip put her in third place at U.S. trials last month, The Washington Post reported. She took to the ice after teammate Brittany Bowe, who finished first at the trials, gave up her spot so that Jackson could compete in the 500 meters, according to the newspaper.

Bowe was also able to compete Sunday after the Americans got a third slot in the race, the AP reported. She finished the event in 16th place.

American Kimi Goetz, who also competed in the 500-meter race, finished in 18th place, ESPN reported.