Erin Jackson of the United States won gold in the women’s 500 meters speed skating at the Beijing Olympics on Sunday, giving the U.S. its first gold medal in the event since 1994.
She could be seen grinning widely after completing her lap in 37.04 seconds but had to wait for the last pair to finish before she embraced her coach and burst into tears.
Jackson almost missed the opportunity to represent the United States after a stumble during the Olympic trials, but her teammate Brittany Bowe gave her spot in the 500m race to Jackson.
“I’m part of the puzzle, but this one is about her. She stood at the start line, and she got that job done today,” Bowe said of Jackson as she fought back tears.
Silver medalist Miho Takagi of Japan set the pace early, coming out on top in the fourth pairing out of 15 with a time of 37.12 seconds that was not beaten until Jackson’s race.
She appeared unperturbed by the drama on the rink, watching the race as she cycled on an exercise bike with a white mask on.
It was Jackson who got ahead with an explosive start, keeping a slim lead of one tenth of a second ahead of Takagi throughout the single lap of the oval.
Angelina Golikova of the Russian Olympic Committee took bronze in 37.21 seconds.
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters