4 years ago, she'd never speed skated. Now she's a favorite to medal

Imagine if Mia Hamm only played indoor soccer. Or if Diana Taurasi never touched the hardwood and just spent her days kicking everyone’s butt in HORSE. Welcome Erin Jackson, the U.S. women’s record-holding speed skater in the 500 meter whose focus was on blades, not skates, for much of her adult life. That is, until 2017. Four months before the U.S. Olympic Trials for Pyeongchang, Jackson decided to follow her lifelong goal of winning an olympic medal and stepped on the ice… kinda. “I was a mess,” she joked. “I needed someone to hold me up.”In-line skating was Jackson’s go-to sport as she won a gold in the 2014 Pan-Am Championships, 47 national championships and was named the U.S. female athlete of the year in roller sports three times. While in-line skating shares the same principles as speed skating, it’s a vastly different (and colder) playing field.

Turns out Jackson's a  in every type of skating

Despite the learning curve, “Speedy” got to work. At the 2018 Olympic trials, she posted a sub 40-second race for the first time in her career, making her the first Black woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic long track team. The newcomer finished 24th in Pyeongchang, but that was only the start.In November, she became the first Black American woman to win a World Cup race when she sped to a 37.613-second finish. In December she won again, this time posting a mark of 36.809 seconds around the 500-meter track, setting the American record.

All signs were pointing to Beijing. Then disaster struck

At the U.S. Olympic trials in Milwaukee, Erin slipped and fell, costing her one of the two qualifying spots. Years of hard work, dedication and drive lost after losing an edge. But her teammates knew the importance of having a competitor like Jackson in Beijing. Brittany Bowe, who is heading to her third Olympics competing in the 1000 and 1500 meter events, decided to step down from the 500m event, and give Erin her spot.”Erin has earned her right to be on this 500 meter team,” Bowe told NBC. “She is ranked number one in the world and no one is more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal.”We’re with Brittany. Speedy’s bringing home the gold.

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Why we’re betting on Erin Jackson

1. Because while this might be her second Olympics, it will be her first Opening Ceremonies.

Low key this is exactly how I watched Pyeongchang’s Opening Ceremonies as well.

2. Because she’s a proud Cat Mom.

Meet Bradley Cat Jackson aka Bubba.

3. Because when she’s not on the ice, she’s playing ROLLER DERBY?!?

U-S-A! U-S-A!

4. Because she also has no idea how to pose for pictures.

“What do I do with my arms tho?” – Erin right before this picture, probably

5. Because we’re all still trying to figure out Twitter.

Any insight is appreciated Speedy.