Erin Jackson has a need for speed . . . speedskating, that is. Not only is she the first African-American woman to make the Olympic team in long-track speedskating, she is also an accomplished inline skater and a roller derby diva, and has a college degree that proves she is more than just an athlete.
What should you know about Erin Jackson? Here are seven fun facts that will make your friends marvel at how much you know.
Jackson made the Olympic team after training for only four months. Yes, that's correct. An inline speed skater for 15 years, she took her skills off the roller rink and onto the ice rink, focusing on the new skill for four months. She made the Olympic team after coming in third during the US Speedskating Trials in Milwaukee.
Roller derby, that is. A jammer, Jackson started doing roller derby in 2012 while she was taking a semester off. Another speedskater introduced her to the sport and she said after a few sessions, she was hooked.
Jackson graduated cum laude from the materials science & engineering program at the University of Florida, which is located in Gainesville, FL.
Jackson told the Women's Flat Track Derby Association that the theme song to her life is "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. Her favorite quote, though, is by Thomas Jefferson.
According to her Team USA biography, Jackson has been named the United States Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Year for roller sports in 2012, 2013, and 2015.
Jackson is currently in the process of selling t-shirts and taking donations in order to help alleviate costs for her father's trip to see her compete in the Olympics.
Jackson told WFTDA she used to be a figure skater but dropped the sport after two years when her coaches left to pursue Olympic dreams for their own daughter. Her entrance into speedskating was by accident - her mom recognized someone from her job while they were out to eat. She had an invitation to a team party shortly after and started racing herself.
To learn more about Erin, visit Team USA. The Winter Olympics will air live beginning Feb. 8.