Erin Jackson poses at a Team USA Beijing 2022 Olympics shoot on Sept. 12, 2021 in Irvine, Calif.
Long track speedskater Erin Jackson hasn’t even qualified for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 yet, but at the rate she’s going, who would doubt her as a gold medal favorite?
On Friday at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, Jackson not only won her fourth of five 500-meter events this season on the world cup circuit, she did it by breaking an eight-year old American record. Her time of 36.809 seconds was .12 seconds ahead of second-place Angelina Golikova of Russia, and .1 seconds better than Heather Bergsma’s 2013 national record. Jackson “rebounded” from her first silver medal of the season two weeks ago in Norway and maintains her overall world cup lead.
The woman they call “Speedy” has had a rapid rise in the sport after converting from inline skater four years ago. Jackson cracked the 40-second barrier in the 500 for the first time at the 2017 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, becoming the first Black woman to make a U.S. Olympic long track speedskating team. Now with years of steady improvement and experience under her belt, Jackson is having a career year.
Two more events remain on this year’s world cup calendar, but only one prior to Beijing. Jackson will look to qualify for the Games next month at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Milwaukee. A U.S. woman hasn’t won an individual Olympic speedskating medal since 2002, and none have taken gold in the 500 since Bonnie Blair did so in 1994.