Erin Jackson to Compete at Winter Olympics After Teammate Gives Up Spot

Image: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Erin Jackson, the top-ranked speed skater in the world, will compete in the 500 meters at the upcoming Winter Olympics after teammate Brittany Bowe relinquished her spot in the event, Yahoo Sports reports. 

Jackson failed to qualify in the event after a stumble in the trials which left her sitting in third place. Because of the fall, she finished less than four-tenths of a second behind Bowe and second-place finisher Kimi Goetz. The top two finishers automatically qualified for a spot on the Olympic team.

Jackson and her team hoped that she could get a re-skate but she didn’t “fall down enough.” According to the U.S. Speed Skating rules, skaters are only allowed a re-skate in their event after a clear fall, which Jackson said she was aware of before the race.

Because of the rules, Jackson could only make the Olympic squad if a teammate dropped out or if a competing team added an extra spot on their roster, then Team USA could add her.

Bowe, who qualified in the 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter events, relinquished her spot in the 500-meter event to Jackson.

“First and foremost, Erin has earned her right to be on this 500-meter team — she’s ranked number one in the world and no one’s more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal,” Bowe said.

“After that unfortunate slip, I knew in my mind before that night was even over that if it had to come down to a decision of mine, she could have my place,” she added.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Jackson said she was “grateful and humbled” by Bowe’s act of kindness.

“Definitely not the way I imagined qualifying for my second Olympic team… but I guess I had to one-up my story from the 2018 Trials,” her post read. I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by the kindness of @BrittanyBowe in helping me to secure a chance at reaching my goals in #Beijing2022. She’s an amazing friend, teammate, and mentor and this is an act I’ll never forget. You can bet I’ll be the loudest voice in the oval cheering for her in the 1000 and 1500 next month.”

“I’ve grown up with Brittany, I’ve known her, like, almost my whole life. I’ve always known what an incredible person she is, and now it’s really showing,” she continued.

Jackson hopes to be the first woman to medal in the speed skating event since the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

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