Call it a gesture worthy of a gold medal: American speed skater Brittany Bowe gave up her spot in the 500-meter race at the Beijing Olympics to teammate Erin Jackson after her childhood friend tripped in a qualifying event.
Jackson is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 500 but only finished third at the U.S. trials after a stumble on the ice, which wasn’t enough to make the Olympic team for the event.
Bowe won the race but later said she would relinquish her Beijing spot to Jackson, one of her closest friends. The two hail from the same town of Ocala, Florida, and have been racing together since childhood.
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“Erin earned her right to be on this 500-meter team. No one is more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal,” Bowe said. “After that unfortunate slip I knew in my mind before that night is even over that if it had to come down to a decision of mine, she could have my place.”
Bowe isn’t sacrificing her Olympic dream, though. The 33-year-old Bowe also won the 1,000 and 1,500 meter races at U.S. trials and will be competing in Beijing in those two events, which she considers her best chances for a medal.
Still, Jackson said she was “beyond grateful and humbled” by Bowe’s decision.
“I’ve grown up with Brittany, I’ve known her almost my whole life, looking up to her in Ocala,” Jackson said.
I’ve always known what an incredible person she is, and it’s really showing.
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