On January 5, Erin Jackson casually took the speedskating trials. To everyone’s surprise, she became the first African-American woman to qualify for the US Olympic long-track speed skating team. Jackson bagged the place after finishing third in 39.04 seconds in the 500-metre race in Milwaukee. It’s interesting to note that Jackson shifted from inline skating to speed skating on ice only four months ago.

You’d be fascinated to know that the Olympian is very new on ice, took up speedskating just four months ago, before the trials

The athlete has a background mostly in inline skating, which makes her achievement extraordinary.

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In an interview with NBC, the 25-year-old University of Florida graduate talked about her accomplishment. An elated Jackson said, “I really wasn’t expecting it coming in. I know I’ve been improving quickly, but I never would have expected this. It’s pretty cool.”

With this achievement in her pocket, Jackson is now the third Black athlete to have made it to the US Olympic speed skating team. The others are long-track skater Shani Davis and short-track skater Maame Biney. Biney has recently became the first Black woman to qualify for the speedskating team with her short-track finish in the 500 metres in Utah.

Bowe, a former inline skater from Ocala, and Jackson’s teammate for several years, says, “Jackson’s improving dramatically every time she steps on that ice. She’s at a point now where she can make those huge gains, so to see that two races in a row out here when the pressure is the highest is really promising for her and the sprint program for Team USA.”

Jackson has more than 15 years of experience in inline skating in her native Ocala, Florida. The athlete started speedskating in March 2017, but her consistent improvement in the game and hours of tough training on ice only since September guided her to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The Winter Olympics will begin on Feb 8.

Feature Image Credit: popsugar.com

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