Erin Jackson became the first African-American woman to make the U.S. Olympic long-track speedskating team when she placed third in the 500-meter race during Friday’s trials in Milwaukee.
That in itself is enough for a great story, but the manner Jackson made the team is even more intriguing. Believe it or not, the 25-year-old from Ocala, Florida, has been skating on ice for a total of only four months.
“I really wasn’t expecting any of this, just coming in as a newbie, just trying to do the best I can,” Jackson told reporters at the event. “I still don’t even know.”
Jackson has a background in inline skating and roller derby and first hit the ice earlier this year. After returning to inline skating over the summer, she started training for speedskating starting full time in September.
It obviously took.
Jackson will be part of a U.S. Olympic speedskating team that is becoming more diverse. Washington’s Maame Biney recently became the first African-American woman to qualify for the country’s short-track team and they’ll be joined by Chicago’s Shani Davis, the two-time gold medalist who will be competing in his fourth Olympics.
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