#BlackHistoryMoment: #ErinJackson makes history! 1st African-American woman to win GOLD in speedskating! [details]

After a stumble in the Olympic qualifiers, Erin Jackson’s gold-medal dreams were over. Jackson failed to qualify for the 500-meter event at the Beijing Olympics, but then something beautiful happened. Her teammate Brittany Bowe gave up her spot, giving Jackson a second chance. Jackson did not waste it, picking up a gold medal in the 500-meter event Sunday in Beijing.

Jackson was the final member of Team USA to skate Sunday. She took part in the second-to-last skate of the day. Jackson had a tall task ahead of her. Miho Takagi of Japan put up a 37.12 early in the event, and remained in the top spot the entire time.

Jackson — the No. 1 ranked skater in the world — proved she was up to the task. Jackson got out to a strong start, and kept up that momentum throughout her skate. She finished with a time of 37.04, narrowly beating Takagi for the gold.

With the performance, Jackson became the first Black woman to win an individual speedskating medal at the Olympics.

It was the first time since 1994 an American woman brought home the gold in the 500-meter race. Bonnie Blair was the last American woman to win the 500-meter event at the Olympics. She did it three times — 1988, 1992 and 1994.

Jackson nearly didn’t make it to Beijing. Her stumble during Olympic trials was enough to keep her from qualifying for the games. Two days later, Bowe gave up her 500-meter event spot to Jackson so that Jackson could take part in the event.



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