In fact, Jackson is the first Black woman to ever earn any medal in this sporting event, period.
The 29-year-old Ocala, Florida, native beat out Miho Takagi of Japan, who took the silver medal, while Angelina Golikova of the Russian team took the bronze.
Amid the euphoria for winning it all and making history, replete with hugs and tears with her teammates, Jackson said she aspires to inspire more minorities to take up the sport in the future.
“Hopefully, this has a [significant] effect,” Jackson said, according to the New York Daily News. “Hopefully, we’ll see more minorities, especially in the USA, getting out and trying these winter sports.”
Jackson’s improbable victory in the Bejing Winter Olympics is even more fascinating when you consider that she just changed sports in 2018, switching up from being an inline skater and going to the ice ring.
Further confounding observers is the fact that Jackson slipped in this year’s Olympic trials, yet managed to finish third.
Not that Jackson didn’t have help. Teammate Brittany Bowe, another Ocala, Florida, skater who finished first at the trials, selflessly gave up her spot on the squad to make sure the dynamic and rising Jackson would get to compete in Beijing.
“She made a really big sacrifice for me,” Jackson said, according to the newspaper. “I’ll be grateful to her forever.”
However, it turned out that the Americans earned the third slot before the Olympics began, so Bowe was allowed to race anyway. Bowe finished 16th on Sunday.
Therefore, Jackson’s victory was truly her own, and she and Bowe were able to share the incredible moment at the finish line.