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Women’s History Month: Erin Jackson

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With the Olympics being officially over now, many American athletes came home with medals, shattered records, and have made history. One athlete who made history was Erin Jackson. Jackson was the first African-American woman to ever medal in speed-skating in the Olympics, winning a gold medal.

Jackson was born in Ocala, Florida, a state that does not usually produce skaters. Jackson ran track and field in high school and college but showed a love for skating early on. Jackson started skating in 2002, but it didn’t start with speed skating. Roller Derby and inline skating were prominent in her life before she got on the ice. Jackson started speed skating in 2017 (tried ice for the first time in Feb.-March, 2017 and returned full time in Sept. 2017). She began inline skating when she was 10 years old in 2002. Jackson is inspired by all of the inliners who have come before her and made the transition to the ice. 

Jackson’s first time at the Olympics was in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She had placed third in the Olympic qualifiers, but fell short in the 500m in Pyeongchang, placing 24th. Jackson continued to stay optimistic and trained for the last 4 years to beat the best. After 4 years of tough competition, Jackson finally came out on top at the 2022 Winter Olympics, placing first. She became the first African-American to ever medal in speed skating. A win for the United States, for the African American community, and for women around the world.

Jackson has been an icon in the speed skating world and continues to prove that regardless of background you can do big things. She is motivated by the desire to keep improving and reaching higher levels, both physically and mentally. 

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, many people remember the history that Jackson and many others have made and their contributions to the community.

 

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