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Finally a badass US story at the Olympics!

She's the bomb! And from Roller Derby. It doesn't get better than this. Screw figure skating!

This almost makes me forget that we're down 12 medals to 21 against..f-cking Norway! With the Rooskies in 2nd place at 17.

Erin Jackson Completes the Journey From Roller Derby to Olympic Gold

The 29-year-old Floridian became the first Black woman from any country to win a gold medal in an individual sport at the Winter Games

Erin Jackson won gold in the 500 meters.

By Joshua Robinson

Feb. 13, 2022 11:09 am ET

There’s no such thing as an Olympic medal for roller derby. So Erin Jackson settled for speedskating gold instead.

Jackson, a 29-year-old from Florida who has spent most of her life skating on land, not ice—and years in the roller derby rink—became an Olympic champion on Sunday in the 500 meters, giving Team USA one of its most significant medals of the Games so far. In doing so, she became the first Black woman from any country to win gold in an individual sport at the Winter Games, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon.

“I wish I could describe how I feel,” she said. “This medal means so much.”

Jackson’s explosive performance also ended more than a decade of heartbreak for U.S. Speedskating, by earning the program its first long-track gold in 12 years. The once powerful team, which racked up 11 medals across the 2006 and 2010 Games, hit a wall in 2014 in Sochi when U.S. skaters were shut out of the medals completely while blaming new state-of-the-art skinsuits for slowing them down. Still reeling four years ago in Pyeongchang, the Americans managed just one bronze.

Now the U.S. once again has a speedskater it can call the best in the world at her distance.

After dominating the World Cup season, the No. 1 ranked Jackson covered the 1.25 laps of the oval in 37.04 seconds, just eight hundredths faster than Miho Takagi of Japan, who won the silver. Angelina Golikova, of the Russian Olympic Committee, took bronze to complete a rare speedskating shutout of the powerhouse Netherlands.

“It wasn’t the perfect race,” the typically laid-back Jackson said. “I had a couple of miss-steps on the back straight, but I could pull it together. Just a couple of miss-steps, that’s all.”

Jackson, who once backed off her skating career to focus on an engineering degree at the University of Florida, was already at the center of one Games’ most inspiring stories long before she even flew to China. During U.S. national team trials, she suffered a slip in the 500 meters that looked set to cost her a spot in Beijing. “I had a job to do and I failed to do it, plain and simple,” Jackson said of her mistake.

Fellow American Brittany Bowe, the veteran specialist of the 1,000 and 1,500 meters, decided that this couldn’t stand. Jackson needed to be in that race. If she could just get to the start line in Beijing, then she would be an automatic medal favorite. So Bowe offered to give up her place in the 500 so Jackson could skate it.

“I knew that if it came down to me relinquishing my spot for her to be named on the team, I would do that because she deserves it,” Bowe said. She has earned the right to compete in her marquee event at the Olympics, and it was an honor to give her that spot.”

Both women wound up qualifying, but it was an extraordinary gesture from Bowe to her teammate. And on Sunday, Jackson repaid her faith.

Write to Joshua Robinson at

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