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Sun, 02.13.2022

The First Black Woman Wins An Olympic 500 Meter Speed Skating Gold Medal

Erin Jackson

*On this date in 2022, Erin Jackson won the Olympic 500 Speed Skating Gold Medal. She is the first Black woman to win this event in the Olympics.

The 29-year-old former inline skater won the women's 500 meters at the National Speed Skating Oval with a time of 37.04, earning her first Olympic medal in what has been her best event. Jackson was the top-ranked skater in the world in the 500 but almost didn't make it here in the first place in a twist of fate.

An unusual slip left her in third place during her race at the U.S. Olympic trials, with only two Americans guaranteed to qualify. Teammate Brittany Bowe, who finished ahead of Jackson but did not consider the 500 her best event, agreed to forfeit her spot on the team to allow Jackson to compete.

She is an engineering graduate of the University of Florida. Jackson started as inline speedskaters in Ocala, Florida, between Orlando and Gainesville, which does not have a year-round ice rink. She eventually switched to ice in hopes of one day making it to the Olympics.

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