Erin Jackson Makes First Olympic Team On Day Four Of U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Jan. 05, 2018, 10:37 p.m. (ET)

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Long Track continued today in front of a third sellout crowd at the Pettit National Ice Center. Brittany Bowe (Ocala, Fla.) and Mitch Whitmore (Waukesha, Wisc.) won their respective 500m events, and Erin Jackson (Ocala, Fla.) was named to her first Olympic team.

Skaters raced the 500m twice on Friday, with the best overall times from the day claiming the top spots on the podium.

Whitmore, the American Record holder in the men’s 500m, turned in his fastest time in the 500m #1, skating a 35.03.

“Today and Wednesday, there was really good skating in there,” said Whitmore. “The slow reaction today on the openers was an area I can work on, but, yeah, the corners were better and the rest of the skating was good.”

This marks the second distance that Whitmore has qualified for, as he claimed a spot in the men’s 1000m on the second day of completion.

Bowe won both of the women’s 500m races and set the fastest time of the day in the first women’s 500m in 37.95.

“It felt pretty good,” said Bowe. “The first one was obviously a little faster than the second one, but I’m really, really pleased with that performance.”

She was followed by Heather Bergsma (High Point, N.C.) in second (38.24) and Jackson in third (39.04). Due to Bowe and Bergsma qualifying for their second distances – both have Olympic spots in the 1000m – Jackson was named to her first Olympic Team.

“It’s been a crazy experience,” stated Jackson. “Just a couple weeks ago I was in the 40’s (seconds in the 500m). I hadn’t even broken 40 (seconds) yet. It’s all happened really fast. It’s crazy.”

The transitioning inline skater, set a personal best in both of her 500m races, skating a 39.22 in 500m #1 and 39.04 in 500m #2. Her previous personal best was a 39.51 skated at a time trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Dec. 23, 2017. She has been training on ice full time for four months.

“Ive been an inline speed skater for 15 years,” said Jackson. “I came out to Salt Lake City for the first time in March, well, the end of February into March. Then I went back to inline for the summer and came back to Salt Lake in September, so its been about four months combined.”

After the first men’s 500m, Kimani Griffin (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Jonathan Garcia (Houston, Texas) sat second and third, respectively, behind Whitmore. The two swapped positions when Garcia turned in a 35.22 in his second 500m, bettering Griffin’s best time of the day of 35.26. Both of the skaters are in line to earn an Olympic berth depending on available quota spots at the end of Trials.

For results, post-race interviews and other media information, visit the US Speedskating Media Page.

The entire U.S. Olympic Long Track Speedskating Team will be formally named at the conclusion of the week’s races and will consist of a maximum of eight men and eight women skaters, subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

Racing continues on Saturday, January 6 with the men's and women's 1500m. Live coverage of the races will be on NBCSN beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET.

The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be held in South Korea from February 9-25, 2018. Both Long and Short Track will be held in the Gangneung coastal cluster with all Olympic competitions for Long Track Speedskating to be held at the Gangneung Oval, which will have a seating capacity of 8,000.

Quotes from Mitch Whitmore

  • “Today and Wednesday, there was really good skating in there. The slow reaction today on the openers was an area I can work on, but, yeah, the corners were better and the rest of the skating was good.”
  • “I was a little frustrated with the starts today. I thought the first race it was a really long hold and then of course he called it back and then the second one I thought I timed it really well, but turns out I didn’t and then, yeah, I was just really slow off the line on that second one. 9.9 is obviously not going to get the job done at the Olympics, but I know what to work on.”

Quotes from Erin Jackson

  • “I surprised myself a lot. I really wasn’t expecting any of this. Just coming in as a newbie trying to do the best that I can. I still don’t even know.”
  • “Ive been an inline speed skater for 15 years. I came out to Salt Lake City for the first time in March, well, the end of February into March. Then I went back to inline for the summer and came back to Salt Lake in September, so its been about four months combined.”
  • “It’s been a crazy experience. Just a couple weeks ago I was in the 40’s (seconds in the 500m). I hadn’t even broken 40 (seconds) yet. It’s all happened really fast. It’s crazy.”
  •  “My coach Renee Hildebrand is a pretty famous coach. She has had a lot of athletes who have made it to the Olympic level so a lot of us are from Ocala, Florida where Renee Hildebrand is from. She has raised a lot of us from the ground up. I owe a lot to her.”

Quotes from Brittany Bowe

  • “It felt pretty good. The first one was obviously a little faster than the second one, but I’m really, really pleased with that performance.”
  • “I’m really happy with how my opening 100 meters are coming along. Obviously, we still have a little bit of work to do on that top end speed for the lap, but really, really pleased and happy with two 500s today.”