Erin Jackson


Speedskating Olympic Gold Medalist and STEM Advocate


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Erin Jackson

Women In Leadership

Erin Jackson recalls growing up skating at the local roller rink in Ocala, Florida, as far back as she can remember. At nine, she started roller figure skating, but two years later, her coach moved away.

Always drawn to going fast, she switched to inline speedskating in 2003, and in short order, a star was born. Jackson went on to become a 47-time National Champion, an 11-time medalist in the World Championships and, in 2015, a Pan Am Games medalist.

Sadly, when Jackson was a teenager, her mother, Rita, passed away, but not before instilling in her daughter the importance of academics before athletics. Jackson went on to graduate cum laude from the University of Florida with a degree in Materials Science & Engineering. She intends to earn a master’s degree in materials science and pursue a career in biomedical engineering.

In 2012, at the urging of a friend, Jackson gave roller derby a try. With the uncanny ability to accelerate quickly, she was a natural fit. Now one of the top jammers in the world, she has competed at the sport’s highest level and is a member of Team USA Roller Derby.

Having reached the pinnacle of competition in both inline skating and roller derby, Jackson knew that if she wanted a shot at the Olympics, she needed to switch to the ice. Following in the footsteps of other inline skaters who had made the transition to the ice, she packed her bags in September 2017 and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the U.S. National Speedskating Team, with her sights set on a berth on the 2022 Olympic Team.

She proved to be a quick study, and her racing times began dropping sharply. In January of 2018, entering the competition as a virtual unknown and a longshot, she electrified the crowd at the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and earned a spot on the team, becoming the first Black American woman to do so.

Four years later, Jackson has evolved into the best of the best, and in November 2021 she became the first Black American woman to win a World Cup speedskating gold medal, marking herself as the favorite in the 500-meter event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Despite the enormous pressure, she delivered at those games. She is the first Black woman to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games.