Erin Jackson: 5 Fast Facts About America's Newest Olympic Gold Medalist


It’s been 20 years since an American woman has won an individual medal in long-track speed skating at the Olympics, but Erin Jackson did just that on Sunday, as she captured the gold medal in the 500-meter race.

Jackson gave the United States its sixth gold medal of these Olympics, and here are some fast facts that you need to know about the country’s newest gold medalist.

One for the History Books

Jackson’s incredible performance in the 500-meters was historic in more ways than one.

Not only is Jackson the first American woman to win a medal in long-track speed skating since 2002, but she is also the first Black woman to ever win a gold medal in speed skating, according to NBC Sports.  

She’s Still Pretty New to the Sport

Jackson has been skating for most of her life, taking up roller skating when she was eight years old. She was also a star in inline speed skating, winning seven medals in World Championship events and a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games.

Despite all of that, Jackson only started competing in speed skating on ice back in 2017, according to

After only a year of practice, she qualified for the 2018 Olympics, finishing 24th in the 500-meters in PyeongChang.

Her Teammate Helped Her Get to Beijing

Despite being the top-ranked 500-meter skater in the world, Jackson was in danger of missing the Olympic event after finishing third in the U.S. Speed Skating Trials, but her teammate Brittany Bowe, who won the event, gave her the spot instead.

“I’m just incredibly grateful,” Jackson said of the gesture. “I’m really humbled, and she’s just an amazing person.”

Bowe did get to compete in the 500 meters after the U.S. earned another quota spot in the race, and finished in 16th place.

Fast on the Track in More Ways Than One

According to, not only did Jackson compete in inline speed skating, but she also competed in roller derby events as well, playing for the Ocala Cannibals and the Jacksonville RollerGirls.

Our best guess is that she was an elite-level jammer.

Her Victory Puts Her Among Olympic Royalty

Prior to Jackson’s win, it had been 28 years since an American woman had captured the gold medal in the 500 meters. The last American woman to win that prize was the iconic Bonnie Blair, who won the event in three consecutive Olympics from 1988 to 1994.

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