Erin Jackson was elected Queen of the Olympic ice rink tonight, making her the first African-American woman to do so. The 29-year-old West Jordan UT speed skater won gold in the women’s 500m speed skating contest.
Winning the Olympic Gold
The new speed sensation, who finished 24th in her debut Winter Games four years ago in PyeongChang, South Korea, topped Japan’s Miho Takagi and Russian Olympic Committee’s Angelina Golikova, who had to settle for silver and bronze.
She said after her victory: I wish I could describe how I feel. It is amazing. This medal means so much. It has been a tough couple of years and a tough beginning of this year. For this to come around like this, I am so happy.”
When Erin arrived in Beijing, she stated her intention to improve racial diversity in speed skating.
She said: “I realize people kind of look to people who look like them in terms of what they feel like they can do. So, when people watch the Olympic Winter Games and Roller Derby and other forms of skating, they might not see a lot of people of color out there.”
“I’m looking forward to being one of those people the other young kids and people of color can look at and say ‘hey she’s out there doing it so we have some representation’.”
Jackson’s Journey for Gold
Jackson’s story is one of a stunning journey to gold. She first started speed skating in September of 2017. She outperformed everyone’s expectations by qualifying for the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. She stated that she did not expect to qualify for the Olympic trials, despite her desire to be a member of Team USA.
She added: “I just didn’t see it happening this quickly. It’s been a big roller coaster There’s been happiness, stress, happiness. It’s been a wild ride but this gold makes it even sweeter. Hopefully, this has an effect. Hopefully, we’ll see more minorities, especially in the USA, getting out and trying these winter sports. I just hope to be a good example.”