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American speed skater gives up top spot to teammate who slipped during qualifying race

U.S. speed skater Erin Jackson will still get her shot to compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics despite suffering a mishap on the ice. Her friend, Brittany Bowe gave up her spot in the Games after Jackson slipped during the qualifying event last Friday. 

“First and foremost, Erin has earned her right to be on this 500-meter team,” Bowe said after she decided to relinquish her position event team. “No one is more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal.”

Jackson is currently ranked number one in the world in the 500 meter race, but she slipped during the qualifying competition, causing her to finish in third behind Bowe in first place and Kimi Goetz in second. Her finishing spot meant she was just shy of making on the Team USA roster. 

“I couldn’t turn my brain off,” Jackson said to NBC Sports about what happened after her error. “It’s been really stressful, just kind of being in limbo for so long.”

Then, on Sunday, Bowe let her know that she would be given her spot in the specific event. “After that unfortunate slip, I knew in my mind before that night was even over that if it had to come down to a decision of mine, she could have my place,” Bowe added.

The pair both grew up in Ocala, Florida and have known each other for nearly 20 years. Bowe is holding out hope that the U.S. will be able to add a third spot to the 500 meter speed skating team, which is possible if spots from other countries are reappropriated. Still, she will be able to compete in the women’s 1,000 meter and 1,500 meter races in the Games.

Jackson said she was humbled by being given the opportunity to get to go along. “She’s always been there for me, helping me out, even when I was just, like, the new kid back in Ocala,” she said about Bowe. “She’s always been an awesome mentor and an amazing person. Someone who I can talk to if I need a friend, or advice or anything. It’s an amazing relationship, and I’m just so grateful.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: FORTUNE.COM

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