Erin Jackson hopes that her gold medal success will inspire more people from ethnic minorities to succeed at future Winter Olympics.
The 29-year-old Floridian is optimistic that her speedskating medal - the first for a black woman - will open the floodgates for more winners.
Jackson claimed gold in the 500 metres on Sunday, and while it was a welcome success for the US the individual context is perhaps more special.
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“I just hope it will do something for the sport,” she said. “I always try to be a good example.”
Teammate Brittany Bowe, who gave up her place to allow Jackson’s 500m run, embraced her after her win.
“She hugged me and we cried,” she explained. “She said she’s really proud of me and I said a lot of thank yous.”
Her coach, Ryan Shimabukuro, was full of praise.
“You’re an Olympic champion,” Shimabukuro said to his athlete.
Jackson reflected on her path to success.
“When I won the first World Cup, I was like, ‘OK that’s strange. Let’s see where it goes,’” Jackson said. “Then I won another and I was like, ‘Well, maybe I can do this.’”
“It’s been a wild ride,” she said, “but that makes it even sweeter.”
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