Team USA Speed Skater Erin Jackson Wins Gold, Becomes First Black Woman to Win Solo Medal in Olympic Event

"I cried immediately, it was just a big release of emotion," Team USA's Erin Jackson told reporters after her historic win in the women's 500m speed skating event

Erin Jackson of Team United States reacts after winning the gold medal during the Women's 500m on day nine of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Speed Skating Oval on February 13, 2022 in Beijing, China.
Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty

Erin Jackson has made history at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The speed skater, 29, won gold Sunday in the women's 500m with a time of 37.04, becoming the first Black woman to win an individual medal in the event, according to Team USA.

"Remember the name," Team USA shared on Instagram. "@speedyj is the first Black woman to win an individual medal in speedskating at the #WinterOlympics."

She is also the first U.S. woman to win gold in speed skating at the Olympics in nearly 30 years, after Bonnie Blair placed first in 1994.

Jackson crossed the finish line just 0.08 seconds before Japan's Miho Takagi, while Angelina Golikova of the Russian Olympic Committee came in third with a time of 37.21.

"I cried immediately, it was just a big release of emotion. A lot of shock, a lot of relief and a lot of happiness," Jackson told reporters, according to CNN. "I haven't fully processed everything quite yet, but it just feels amazing."

"I had a little misstep on the backstretch, but I just tried to, I wouldn't say recover, because it wasn't anything big, but just tried to continue skating," she added.

The Florida native's victory comes after her teammate Brittany Bowe gave up her first place spot in last month's qualifying event so Jackson could go to Beijing in her place (after spots in the 500m were reallocated, Bowe, 33, was also able to compete). The noble move came after Jackson placed third, due to an unfortunate slip on the ice.

"No one is more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal," Bowe said of her decision.

RELATED VIDEO: Olympic Medalist Gracie Gold Recaps Yesterday's Short Program Figure Skating at the Winter Olympics

Jackson previously spoke to PEOPLE about her friendship with Bowe, with whom she grew up in Ocala as part of the same inline speed skating team. "It was hard to put into words what I felt," she said earlier this month of Bowe's sacrifice.

"I was extremely grateful and humbled and happy," Jackson added. "Brittany is an amazingly selfless person and I'm honored to call her a friend."

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

Related Articles