Erin Jackson wants gold medal for teammate who sacrificed Olympic spot – Insider

  • Erin Jackson, a top-ranked speed skater, nearly missed the Olympics due to a slip in qualifying.
  • Her friend and teammate, top qualifier Brittany Bowe, offered up her spot to Jackson.
  • “I want to see Brittany Bowe with a gold medal around her neck,” Jackson told Insider.

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Brittany Bowe made a massive sacrifice to enable her teammate, speed skating superstar Erin Jackson, to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

And now that both American competitors are at the games in China, Jackson’s ready to make the most of her very lucky, very generous break.

“I want to see Brittany Bowe with a gold medal around her neck,” Jackson told Insider. “And I want her to see me with one, too.”

Team USA speed skaters Erin Jackson (left) and Brittany Bowe.

Jackson (left) and Bowe train at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Wu Wei/Xinhua via Getty Images

Jackson — one of the favorites to win gold in the 500-meter race in Beijing — looked poised to miss this year’s Winter Olympics after an unfortunate error kept the 29-year-old frontrunner from placing among the top finishers at trials. The winner in four of the past eight World Cups in the event uncharacteristically slipped during her qualifying race, losing precious fractions of a second off of her time and falling to third overall.

Only the top two finishers were guaranteed spots in Beijing, though a third American would potentially be eligible to receive a bid later on. Jackson’s time would not have been enough to nab that final spot, but Bowe — who qualified for the 1000- and 1500-meter events in addition to finishing first in the 500 — knew she had a shot at it.

The 33-year-old knew what she had to do; she called Jackson, and then US Speedskating, to offer up her spot.

Brittany Bowe.

REUTERS/Phil Noble

“I’d summarize it like this: I’ve known Britt for many years,” Jackson said. “The world has long since known that she is a great athlete. With her gesture to me, the world got to see that she is a great leader of our speed skating team, a great person, and a great friend.”

“I’m blessed to have someone like that in my life,” she added. “I’d like the narrative of the story to be less about me, and more about what she did, so selflessly, for me.”

Bowe, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics, had already punched her ticket to Beijing, but it remained uncertain whether she’d wind up in the field for the 500-meter race. Eventually, her gamble paid off; both she and Jackson are now set to compete in Saturday’s 500-meter race.

Erin Jackson.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

When Jackson found out Bowe made the cut after all, she was “over the moon.”

“Sweet justice for her,” Jackson added. “She deserves it.”

Bowe, who was one of the flag bearers for Team USA this year, finished 10th in the 1500-meter event, but still has the 500 and 1000 on her plate. Jackson is thrilled by the prospect of the pair — longtime friends and fellow natives of The Sunshine State — each bringing home hardware from Beijing. 

“How cool would that be?” Jackson said. “Two girls from Central Florida standing on ice on the other side of the world with gold medals!”