Jackson is also the first US woman to win the gold medal in the event since Bonnie Blair won back in 1994.
"I cried immediately, it was just a big release of emotion,” she said. “A lot of shock, a lot of relief, and a lot of happiness. I haven't fully processed everything quite yet, but it just feels amazing,"
"I had a little misstep on the backstretch, but I just tried to, I wouldn't say recover, because it wasn't anything big, but just tried to continue skating,” she added.
As EBONY previously reported, during the Olympic trials, Jackson failed to qualify in the 500m after a stumble left her with third place. Because of the fall, she finished less than four-tenths of a second behind Brittany Bowe and second-place finisher Kimi Goetz. The top two finishers automatically qualified for a spot on the Olympic team.
“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 at the time.
“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.
At the conclusion of the race, she and Bowe shared an emotional embrace: "She hugged me, said she is really proud of me, and I just said a lot of thank yous," Jackson said.