Erin Jackson is one of the best speed skaters in the world and she’s ranked number one in the 500-meter event. But the 29-year-old’s hopes of heading to this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing were all but gone after she slipped during a qualifying event. Jackson lost fractions of a second off her time in the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials, leaving her in third place.
Guaranteed spots only went to the two top finishers and a third could later receive a bid, but Jackson’s time wasn’t enough to secure that final spot. And that’s when her friend stepped up in the ultimate act of sportsmanship. Brittany Bowe, an American long track speed skater and friend of Jackson’s, finished first in the qualifying 500-meter event. And then she offered her spot at the Olympics to Jackson.
“It's just the spirit of the Olympics and being a great teammate,” Bowe says. “And yes, it's bigger than just me. It's Team USA. Erin has a shot to bring home a medal, hopefully, a gold medal, and it's my honor to give her that opportunity.” She adds that “no one’s more deserving” than Jackson and Jackson is blown away by her teammate and friend’s generosity. “I’m beyond grateful and humbled and happy,” she says. “I’ve grown up with Brittany. I’ve known her almost my whole life. I’ve always known what an incredible person she is, and now it’s really showing.”