Erin Jackson becomes first Black American woman to win World Cup speedskating race

TOMASZOW MAZOWIECKI, Poland -- Erin Jackson became the first Black American woman to win a World Cup speedskating race.

She won the 500 meters Friday at the season opener in Poland, finishing in 37.613 seconds. Defending Olympic champion Nao Kodaira of Japan was 0.13 seconds behind. The field included all three medalists from the world championships in February, when Jackson didn't compete.

Jackson's previous best World Cup finish was ninth.

She became the first Black woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic long-track speedskating team in 2018, just four months after taking up the sport. Jackson finished 24th in the 500 at the Pyeongchang Games.

She switched to the ice from inline skating and roller derby.

The 29-year-old skater from Ocala, Florida, didn't compete internationally last season after she had an eye injury and multiple people around her got the coronavirus.

Jackson recorded her best times in a pair of 500 races in Salt Lake City last month at a World Cup qualifying meet. She defeated two-time Olympian Brittany Bowe in both races.

American Shani Davis is the most successful Black male speedskater in history, winning four Olympic medals, including two golds.