World No 1 speed skater Erin Jackson to miss Olympics after slip at US trials

Erin Jackson slipped in the 500 meters and stunningly finished third, failing to make the Beijing Olympics in her signature event Friday at the US speed skating trials.

She had hoped to be given a re-skate, but officials ruled that because she didn’t fall that wasn’t a possibility. Her only chance of getting into the event would be if one of the top two qualifiers would give up their spot to Jackson.

The 29-year-old Jackson, who earlier this season became the first Black American woman to win a World Cup speed skating race, bobbled in the second straightaway of the sprint, with one skate appearing to clip her other foot before she recovered. Her time of 38.25 seconds put her second going into the final pairing.

But it wasn’t fast enough to hold on. Kimi Goetz, already on the US team after finishing second in the 1,000, knocked Jackson out by taking second in 37.86.

“I just hit a bad edge,” Jackson said afterward to NBC. “Not good.”

Brittany Bowe won in 37.81. She already qualified for her third Olympics with a win in the 1,000 on Thursday. Bowe and Jackson are friends who are both from Ocala, Florida.

Jackson is ranked No 1 in the world in the 500, having won four of eight World Cup races this season. She also had a second and a third.

The Americans have qualified two spots for the women’s 500 in next month’s Olympics.

Four years ago, Jackson became the first Black woman to qualify for a US Olympic long-track speedskating team, just four months after taking up the sport.

She switched to the ice from inline skating and roller derby, going on to finish 24th in the 500 at the Pyeongchang Games.

Jordan Stolz won the men’s 500 in 34.55 to qualify for his second Olympic event. The 17-year-old phenom won the 1,000 on Thursday.

Austin Kleba finished second in 35.17, although he will have to wait to see if he’ll go to Beijing since the US men only have one quota spot in the event. Final quota reallocations for the Olympics will be done later this month.

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