25-year-old speed skater Erin Jackson of Ocala, Florida, just made history by becoming the first African American women to make Team USA’s long-track speed skating team. What’s even more impressive is that Jackson is a newbie to speed skating, having only been practicing for four months now.
“I really wasn’t expecting any of this, just coming in as a newbie, just trying to do the best I can,” she explained to Sports Illustrated.
What differentiates Long-track skating from the short-track competition is that racers compete in pairs in a much larger rink. The sport is widely considered to be the “fastest human powered” sport in the world.
Before entering the world of Long track skating, Jackson was doing roller derby and was an incline skater for 15 years. And apparently Jackson is impressive both on and off the ice, Jackson was named the best roller sport female athlete in 2012, 2013, and 2015.)
Jackson said during an interview on The Jim Rome Show,
I was coming into the Olympic trials this year just hoping to get some experience and, kind of see where I am after the time I’ve had on the ice. It was definitely a goal of mine to be on Team USA… I just didn’t see it happening this quickly.
Jackson will go on to compete in the 500-meter long-track race and team up with 17 year-old Maame Biney, who will be the first black woman on Team USA’s short-track speed skating team.