Ocala's Erin Jackson wins Winter Olympics gold in speed skating

Ocala's Erin Jackson wins Winter Olympics gold in speed skating
Photo via Instagram/Erin Jackson

Ocala native Erin Jackson took home the gold in women's 500m speed skating at the Winter Olympics in Beijing over the weekend.

The win was notable for several reasons. Jackson is the first Black woman to win an Olympic speed-skating event. The win was the first speed-skating gold for either U.S. team at the Beijing Olympics. Jackson's win in the particular event was the first for the United States since 1994.

Jackson is a relative newcomer to ice skating, switching from inline skates ahead of the 2018 Olympics. She had been speed skating for just four months when she qualified for the 2018 team.

Jackson also nearly missed out on this year's Olympics. The top-ranked skater stumbled during qualifiers and failed to make the cut on her time. Teammate Brittany Bowe opted to give her first-place qualifying spot to Jackson. Bowe, who is also from Ocala, eventually received a spot at Beijing due to reallocation. She came in 16th at the 500m competition.

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