Erin Jackson Opens Speedskating Season With First World Cup Win
by Chrös McDougall
Erin Jackson competes during the women's 500-meter individual speed skating final at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 18, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
The Olympic season got off to the best start possible for long track speedskater Erin Jackson as the 29-year-old raced to her first career world cup victory on Friday in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. And in doing so, Jackson became the first Black woman to win a world cup race in the sport, according to U.S. Speedskating.
Jackson, a 2018 Olympian from Ocala, Florida, flew to a track record time of 37.613 seconds in winning the opening women’s 500-meter race, beating second-place Nao Kodaira of Japan by .13. Fellow American Brittany Bowe finished eighth, and .57 behind her teammate.
Erin Jackson took first place in the women's 500m in Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland, becoming the first Black American woman to win a speed skating World Cup race.@ErinJackson480 @USSpeedskating // @OnHerTurf pic.twitter.com/gD9L0vFMbA
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) November 12, 2021
Friday’s result continues a steady upward progression for Jackson, after she burst onto the scene just four years ago. Now less than 100 days out from the start of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, she could be moving right into the conservation for top medal contenders.
Following the path of many top U.S. speedskaters, Jackson got her start as an inline skater, and after racking up championships in that sport she transitioned to ice in late 2017. Within four months of making the switch, Jackson qualified for her first U.S. Olympic Team, in the process becoming the first Black woman to make Team USA in her sport.
After finishing 24th in the 500-meter in her Olympic debut in PyeongChang, Jackson moved up to 15th at the distance at the 2019 world championships, then jumped to seventh the next year.
Following a pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, during which Jackson did not race internationally, the Floridian has been off to a hot start already this fall.
She claimed the 500-meter title at the Fall World Cup Qualifier in late October, setting a personal record of 37.08 second in the process. And after also taking third in the 1,000-meter, she will be competing at that distance throughout this world cup season as well.
Previously, Jackson’s best world cup finish was ninth in a 500-meter race in 2018.
The Tomaszów Mazowiecki World Cup continues through Sunday, with another women’s 500-meter race scheduled for Saturday.