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Speed skater Erin Jackson lost a chance at gold — until her teammate stepped in

Erin Jackson's teammate Brittany Bowe (right) gave up her spot for the 2022 Beijing Olympics after Jackson was eliminated during trials for women's speedskating. Jackson will be competing in Bowe's place.
Stacy Revere
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Getty Images
Erin Jackson's teammate Brittany Bowe (right) gave up her spot for the 2022 Beijing Olympics after Jackson was eliminated during trials for women's speedskating. Jackson will be competing in Bowe's place.

Erin Jackson wasn't going to miss a chance at Olympic gold if her teammate could do anything about it.

Jackson, the world's top ranked woman in the 500 meter event for speed skating, slipped during U.S. Olympic trials in Milwaukee — costing her one of two spots in Beijing.

Those prized spots went to the winner of the event, Brittany Bowe, and the second-place finisher Kimi Goetz.

Jackson, who came in third, looked liked she was going to miss her likely final trip to the Olympics after competing in Pyeongchang in 2018.

Missing the competition would've been a shock, as Jackson is the top-ranked skater in this event, according to ESPN. In November, she became the first Black woman to win a World Cup event in speed skating.

So, Bowe decided to step in.

Bowe, who is heading to her third Olympics, decided to give up her qualifying spot, which opened up an opportunity for Jackson to take her place in Beijing.

"Erin has earned her right to be on this 500 meter team," Bowe told NBC. "She is ranked number one in the world and no one is more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal."

Jackson, who calls Bowe a long-time friend and mentor, said she was "beyond grateful and humbled."

Bowe and Jackson both grew up in Ocala, Fla. where they each started their inline skating careers. They both eventually switched to skating on ice.

Bowe will still be heading to Beijing, as she qualified for the 1,000 and 1,500 meter competitions.

That's where Jackson will be cheering on her friend.

Jackson tweeted, "You can bet I'll be the loudest voice in the oval cheering for her in the 1000 and 1500 next month."

The Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Olympics is set to take place on Feb. 4.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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