We know who we'll be rooting for at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Erin Jackson just made history as the first African-American woman to make the U.S.A.'s long-track speed skating team — and if that wasn't impressive enough, she did it with just four months of training.
"I really wasn't expecting it coming in," the 25-year-old athlete told NBC after making the team. "I know I've been improving quickly but I never would have expected this. It's pretty cool. There's still just a lot going on in my head. I haven't really processed it yet."
However, skating isn't completely new to Erin, who has been a successful roller derby and inline skater for the past 15 years. She was named the best roller sport female athlete in 2012, 2013, and 2015 by Team USA before finally putting on ice skates and taking her talent to the ice. Now, next month, she will be competing in the 500-meter long-track competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea, alongside teammate Maame Biney, the first African-American woman to make the short-track speed skating team.
So, what else is there to know about the speed skater bringing #BlackGirlMagic to the Olympics. Keep reading for more fun facts about Erin!
She's from Ocala, FL.
Erin grew up in the horse capital of the world, which is the most unlikely place for someone competing in the winter games. She also graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Materials Science & Engineering. Go Gators!
She's still a member of Team USA roller derby.
In 2016, Erin was a member of the Jacksonville RollerGirls league and was a part of the travel team New Jax City Rollers. Today, she's repping the U.S.A. "I’ve been skating for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I attended skating sessions at the local rink every week and even spent a few summers there at the summer camp. I joined the figure skating team in Ocala when I was eight," she said of her life-long passion. "I won some races at the party on my little artistic skates and soon began attending speed practices. Thirteen years later I’m still in love with the sport."
Her mother passed away when she was a teenager.
“I know how proud her mom would be,” her former pageant coach told The Ocala Star Banner. "She’s always been real dedicated. She’s just a cool kid… I still see her as little Erin.” And yes, she also competed in pageants. This girl seriously has so many hidden talents.
But you can help her dad get to the Olympics!
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I'm glad I was able to spend time with my dad before heading back to Salt Lake City. He was very excited to hear about all of the support that has been pouring in to help him get to South Korea. We can't thank you all enough ❤️ Check out the link in my bio for ways you can support the journey 🇺🇸 #WinterOlympics2018 #PyeongChang2018 #TeamUSA #LongTrackSpeedskating #ISUTransitionProgram #iceicebaybee
After qualifying for the U.S. team, Erin started a fundraiser to help raise money to help pay for her dad travel to see her perform (and hopefully, take home a medal). "I'm beyond excited to say I have earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Long Track Speedskating Team and will be competing at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games," she wrote. "Thanks a million to everyone who has supported me along the way toward achieving this dream! I'll do my best to make you proud this February."