The History of Speed Skaters Brittany Bowe’s and Erin Jackson’s Friendship On And Off the Ice

When Team USA’s Erin Jackson slipped during a 500-m long-track speedskating trial, the athlete, who was ranked No. The world’s No. 1 ranked athlete, Erin Jackson, believed that she had lost her chance to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. An unexpected act of kindness transformed everything. Jackson’s long-time friend Brittany Bowe, who had finished first in the trial and qualified in other events, gave up her spot in the 500-m race so Jackson could compete.

Bowe was able to make the decision easily. “I thought she earned it and she deserved it,” Bowe Interview. Jackson was incredibly moved by her friend’s graciousness, but more than happy to accept, too, Posting on Instagram that she was “incredibly grateful and humbled” by Bowe’s kindness. “She’s an amazing friend, teammate, and mentor and this is an act I’ll never forget. You can bet I’ll be the loudest voice in the oval cheering for her in the 1000 and 1500 next month,” Jackson In an Instagram caption.
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Erin Jackson (@speedyj), contributed this article

This is the final phase. U.S. Olympic team pickedBowe will compete with Jackson in the 500-m races. “She’s an amazing person and amazing friend, an amazing teammate, and I’m so glad her good karma came back so quickly,” Jackson spoke on NBCBefore the Opening Ceremony Friday morning. It’s a fitting capstone to a friendship that has spanned decades.

Bowe and Jackson’s start in Florida

“I grew up with Brittany,” Jackson told Team USA’s blog. “I have known her almost my whole life.” Both Jackson and Bowe grew up together in Ocala Florida. They both trained at the same school. Renee Hildebrand coached the team of inline speed skaters there.Both hey and Bowe were awarded accolades, winning championships. Jackson is four-years younger than Bowe. She has been an inspiration to Jackson. Jackson paid close attention when Bowe went to the ice. Bowe was very good on ice, too—representing the U.S. in the 2014 and 2018 Olympics and earning eight gold medals in world championship events.

Jackson, her best friend in ice speedkating, followed her lead a few years later. Only a few months were required for Jackson to qualify for the 2018 Winter Games. She became the first Black woman to be on the U.S. Long-Trail team.

While 24th placeShe won four out of eight World Cup 500m events, including the 500m in PyeongChang. Jackson was the winner of the November race. She became the first Black American woman in a World Cup speedkating race. Her greatest booster was Brittany Bowe. Brittany Bowe. “She’s an amazing friend, teammate, and mentor who is always willing to help me both on and off the ice,” Jackson narrates PeopleInterview.

2022 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Long Track Speedskating
Stacy Revere—Getty ImagesBrittany Bowe and Erin Jackson speak with the media at the U.S. Speedskating Long Track Olympic Trials, Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee on January 9, 2022.

Bowe’s generosity for Jackson’s 2022 Olympics

Now, fast forward to 2022. Bowe still supports Jackson. When Jackson slipped on the ice during the Olympic Trials, it didn’t take Bowe long to decide to give up her spot. ESPN, right after the event “Bowe walked up to Jackson, hugged her and assured her good friend that if she had anything to do with it, Jackson would be joining her in Beijing.” After talking with Team USA, the announcement was made that Bowe had relinquished her spot. She quickly attributed it to sportsmanship. “It’s just the spirit of the Olympics,” Bowe said, “and being a great teammate. It’s bigger than just me—it’s Team USA. Erin has a shot to bring home a medal—hopefully a gold medal—and it’s my honor to give her that opportunity.”

Jackson, though, won’t let her friend downplay her generosity. “She’s always been there for me, helping me out, even when I was just, like, the new kid back in Ocala,” Jackson said of Bowe in an interview Team USA shared on Twitter. “She’s always been an awesome mentor and an amazing person. A person I can turn to for advice, support or friendship. It’s an amazing relationship, and I’m just so grateful.”


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