Erin Jackson wins historic speed skating gold at Beijing Olympics

(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Speed skater Erin Jackson finished first in the 500m final on Sunday, becoming the first American to win gold since Bonnie Blair in 1994.

Jackson is also the first Black woman to win a speed skating gold medal in Olympics history. She joins Shani Davis as the only Black athletes to win speed skating medals at the Olympics.

Jackson finished in a time of 37.04, just .08 ahead of Japan’s Takagi Miho, who set a high bar with a 37.12 earlier in the event. Angelina Golikova of the Russian Olympic Committee took home bronze for her first Olympic medal.

American teammates Brittany Bowe, who originally gave up her Olympic roster spot to Jackson, finished 16th and Kimi Goetz 18th.

Jackson has been on a roll in the past year. In November, she became the first Black woman to win a World Cup event in speed skating. The next month, she set an American record at a World Cup event in Salt Lake City, completing the 500m in 36.80 seconds. The 29-year-old entered the Beijing Games ranked No. 1 in the world.

A two-time Olympian, Jackson made her Olympic debut in 2018 at the PyeongChang Games, just four months after picking up speed skating.