The world better get ready for Erin Jackson. The first black woman to qualify for the U.S. long track speed skating team is headed to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Learn all about her.
1. Yes, she’s the first African-American long track speed skater…ever. When Erin Jackson came in third place in trials for the 500-meter race on Jan. 5, she did more than just earn herself a spot in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. She became the third black athlete to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speed skating team and the first black woman to qualify for the long track competition, according to Huffington Post. “I really wasn’t expecting any of this, just coming in as a newbie, just trying to do the best I can,” she said after qualifying for the Olympics. “I still don’t even know.”
2. She wasn’t kidding when she said she was a newbie. Four months. That’s how long Erin has been training on ice. Four months after hitting the rink and suddenly, she’s an Olympian representing America at the international games. That’s mind-boggling. “Yeah, it’s crazy, like, this was kind of a long term goal of mine,” Erin said when appearing on The Jim Rome Show, per CBS Sports.
“I was coming into the Olympic trials this year just hoping to get some experience and, like, kind of see where I am after the time I’ve had on the ice. And I was always planning to like, stick around for the next cycle. So yeah, it was definitely a goal of mine to be on Team USA I just didn’t see it happening this quickly.”
3. She’s no rookie when it comes to skating. It’s not like Erin just strapped on a pair of blades and suddenly discovered she was awesome. She’s been incredible for years. Prior to her newfound career as a speed skater, she was a competitive inline skater (or, as it’s commonly known, rollerblading.) She won five inline speed skating medals at the 2008-09 Junior World Champions, including the 500m race, and took home gold for the same event at the 2014 Pan American Championships, according to ESPN W.
4. Erin’s also a roller derby dynamo. Erin joined the Ocala Cannibals in 2012. “They taught me the rules, skills, and how to play the game,” she told the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s official website. She joined the Jacksonville RollerGirls (or New Jax City Rollers) helping the team climb up the WFTDA ranks.
5. She could use your help. Next stop for Erin is South Korea, but she needs a little help in getting her family overseas. “I cannot wait to represent Team USA in PyeongChang, South Korea,” she wrote on her Instagram. “I’m starting a t-shirt fundraiser to help get my dad to South Korea to watch me race in the Olympic Games.” Here’s hoping her dad can make it, because all of the USA wants to join him in watching his girl make history in PyeongChang!
To learn more about Erin, visit teamusa.org. The Olympics begin live on February 8.
What do you think about Erin, HollywoodLifers?