Erin Jackson made history today when she won her first ever World Cup speed skating race, crossing the line for the 500-meter distance in a blazing 37.613. With the win, Jackson also became the first Black American woman to win a speed skating World Cup title, a monumental piece of history for the 29-year-old Olympian. To do so, she beat out the reigning Olympic champion, Nao Kodaira of Japan, who placed second, and Olga Fatkulina of Russia, who took third.
Jackson grew up a competitive inline skater and made the move to ice only a few years ago, in 2017, to chase her dreams of going to the Olympics. This isn’t her first time making history, either: Jackson was the first Black woman to make the US Olympic long track speed skating team when she qualified for the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018.
As Jackson pursues her own goals, she’s aware of the impact her success can have on others. “I’m definitely happy to be a face that young girls or people of color can see,” Jackson told reporters in the Team USA Media Summit in October. “Visibility is really important,” she added. “I’m just happy to be a face that people can see and think, ‘Well, if she’s doing it, maybe I should try it too.'” Here’s hoping we’ll see Jackson breaking more barriers soon at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing!