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A historic first at Olympic speedskating as Black athlete takes gold

The U.S.'s Erin Jackson was a favorite to win, although she nearly missed out on competing after a slip during the trials.

BEIJING, China — Erin Jackson has become the first Black woman to win a speedskating medal at the Winter Olympics. And a gold one, at that.

Jackson won the 500 meters with a time of 37.04 seconds Sunday, giving the Americans their first speedskating medal of the Beijing Games.

The world record for women's 500-meter speedskating is 41.936 seconds (26.7 mph) set in 2019.

This one carried much more than national pride. The 29-year-old Jackson joins fellow American Shani Davis as the only Black athletes to win speedskating medals at the Olympics. Davis won gold in the men's 1,000 meters and silver in the 1,500 meters at the 2006 Olympics in Turin.

The silver went to Miho Takagi of Japan, while Angelina Golikova of the Russian team took the bronze.

Jackson's gold came after the native of balmy Ocala, Florida, slipped at the U.S. trials and shockingly finished third, putting her spot on the Olympic team in jeopardy.

Jackson was a favorite to win, although she nearly missed out on competing. She slipped at the U.S. trials in this event and didn't make the team, but Brittany Bowe — who represented Team USA as a flagbearer during the Opening Ceremony — gave up her spot in the 500 so Jackson could compete. 

Bowe ended up in the event anyway because the U.S. received a third quota spot.

See Jackson's historic run here: 

Jackson hopefully won't be the only gold medalist for the U.S. to come out of competition Sunday. 

In the newly-added women's monobob, U.S. standouts Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor both have a chance to medal. The final run in that event will happen live after the Super Bowl.

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