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2022 Winter Olympics: Erin Jackson becomes first black woman to medal in speed skating


History was made at the 2022 Winter Games on Sunday with the arrival of a new Olympic event, and a one-of-a-kind gold medal in women’s speed skating.

The U.S. has been on a roll this week with Nathan Chen’s record-breaking performance on Day 4, Lindsey Jacobellis securing the country’s first gold medal on Day 5, Chloe Kim’s jaw-dropping showing on Day 6 and Shaun White’s final ride as an Olympic athlete on Day 7.

Following another golden day for Team USA on Day 8, women competitors from all over the country made history when monobob made its Olympics debut on Sunday morning in Beijing (8:30 p.m. ET Saturday). The women-only competition is one of four bobsled events at this year’s Games, in addition to the two-person events (men and women) and the four-man event.

And in the women’s 500m, Erin Jackson became the first black woman to medal in an individual speed skating event in Olympics history. Even better about her story: She almost missed competing in the big event after slipping during trials, but a teammate’s grace afforded her the ultimate opportunity.

As of Sunday afternoon ET, Norway leads all countries with 21 medals, followed by the Russian Olympic Committee with 17.

The U.S. is currently tied for fourth in total medals with 12 — six gold, five silver and one bronze.

Here are some of the biggest moments and highlights from Day 9:

Erin Jackson, speed skating

As mentioned, Jackson was extremely close to watching the games from home after a misstep in the qualifying competitions, but teammate Brittany Bowe, who had already qualified for the 1,000m and 1,500m events, gave up her slot in the 500m to make room for the world No. 1.

It paid off handsomely. 

Jackson glided past the competition during the 500m finals, speeding to a 37.04 time Sunday, just ahead of Japan and the ROC.

“I cried immediately, it was just a big release of emotion,” Jackson told reporters following the victory. “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.”

Jackson made sure to find her teammate immediately afterward. 

“[Bowe] hugged me, said she is really proud of me, and I just said a lot of thank-yous,” Jackson said in a wave of emotions. She’s also the first woman to U.S. woman to win gold in a speed skating event since Bonnie Blair did so in 1994.

Team USA, men’s hockey

The U.S. men’s hockey team breezed through group play unscathed, capping its undefeated stretch with a 3-2 victory over Germany on Sunday.

Germany got out to a fast start, scoring within the game’s first two minutes, but Steve Kampfer knocked in a power-play goal to draw even in the first period. 

Matthew Knies converted on a nice assist from Nicolas Abruzesse in the second, and Nathan Smith added an insurance goal in the third.

“We’ve really become a team in a short period of time,” coach David Quinn said following the match. “You can feel it in the locker room, you can feel it around the village. These guys genuinely like each other and care for each other. I got to give a ton of credit to our older players. They really embraced the responsibility. It’s a really good mix and a great group to be around.”

The top-seeded Americans now avoid qualifying stages and await their opponent in the knockout rounds.

Team USA, monobob

Veteran bobsledders Elana Meyers Taylor and Canadian-American Kallie Humphries represented the U.S. in the inaugural event. It was the first time Humphries has represented Team USA on the Olympic stage since getting her American citizenship in December 2021.

The three-time Olympic medalists are both expected to contend for gold. Meyers Taylor kicked off the competition, getting off to a hot start in her opening heat. She finished fourth with a time of 2:10.42 heading into Monday’s heats. 

Humphries also dazzled in her heat and leads the field by more than a second with a first-place time of 2:09.10 ahead of Monday’s third heat. 

Team USA, men’s and women’s curling

After dropping a hotly contested match to Norway, Team Schuster bounced back to collect an 8-6 victory over host country China in men’s curling. The squad took over in the fourth end after ending the third tied at two. John Schuster closed the door on China’s comeback with a stupendous throw in the final end. 

The top four teams will make the final, which means the U.S. – currently sixth, will likely have to win each of its remaining three round-robin games to qualify.

On the women’s side, Team Peterson entered its match against event-leader Sweden at 3-1, but couldn’t improve on that record after a 10-4 romp by the Swedish team. 

The U.S. led 3-2 after the fourth end, but Sweden scored five unanswered points in the eighth and ninth ends to pull away comfortably. The U.S. now sits in a three-way tie with Great Britain and Sweden for the third spot, at 3-2. The women play South Korea Sunday night on Feb. 13.

Team USA, freestyle skiing

Americans Maggie Voisin, Caroline Claire, Marin Hamill and Darian Stevens are representing Team USA in the women’s freeski slopestyle qualifier on Sunday morning Beijing time. However, the event was postponed due to heavy snowfall at the event site. Runs will take place 24 hours following their intended start time, which was 6 a.m. ET.

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