© Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports
Erin Jackson becomes first Black woman to win individual gold at Winter Olympics
Erin Jackson became the Olympic champion in women's 500-meter speed skating Sunday in Beijing and made history in the process.
Jackson, 29, competed in roller derby and in-line skating until transitioning to speed skating on ice in 2016. Within only a few months of training, she qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics, but finished 24th in the 500-meter. Now she's a groundbreaking gold medalist in the event.
Only two Black women have ever earned an individual medal in an Olympic event: Jackson and 1988 bronze medal winning figure skater Debi Thomas. Jackson is the first to win gold and joins 2006 speed skater Shani Davis as the only Black gold medal winners.
Jackson's time of 37.04 seconds was enough for gold by only eight hundredths of a second with Japan's Miho Takagi earning silver. The other two Americans in the event, Brittany Bowe and Kimi Goetz, finished 16th and 18th, respectively.