Olympic Champ Erin Jackson Celebrates Return To Beijing With Two World Cup Wins
by Paul D. Bowker
Erin Jackson proved she’s unbeatable on the Beijing ice in the 500m this weekend, winning both 500m races on the same oval where she won her historic Olympic Gold medal in 2022. Along with Jackon winning big in her signature event, U.S. athletes added five total medals to an already impressive start to the long track World Cup season this year.
Jackson, whose win in the Women’s 500m last year made her the first Black woman to win a Winter Olympic Gold medal in an individual event, won the same race twice in her return trip to the Chinese capital.
Meanwhile, Kimi Goetz added a pair of Silver medals in the Women’s 500m and 1000m, increasing her season total to seven medals.
The wins for Jackson were her first World Cup individual Gold medals since the 2021-22 season. They also came just two weeks after she won a Gold and Bronze medal in in-line speed skating at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
“Last season, I didn’t skate a whole lot,” Jackson said. “In the summertime, I was traveling a lot and doing speeches and other media things just coming off the Olympics. So I was in pretty bad shape coming into the race season. I think I completed one training block with my team going in at the time.”
This season, Jackon has medaled in three of the four World Cup 500m races and finished fourth in the other one. She had winning times of 37.91 and 37.54 seconds this weekend, edging Goetz by .01 seconds in Friday’s race and 2022-23 World Cup champion Kim Min-sun of South Korea by .31 seconds in Sunday’s race.
“This year has been still not as great as it was in the two years leading up to the Olympics,” Jackson said, “but way better than last year. So hopefully I’ll get more consistency going forward and build it up again.”
Goetz edged Jackson for Gold and Bronze medals in the 500m last week in Japan, part of a five-medal performance in Obihiro, Japan.
“I was telling her, ‘I’ll let you have this one (because) this is your golden track,’” Goetz said after Friday’s race.
Goetz nearly added another win in Beijing but missed the Gold medal in the Women’s 1000m by just .01 seconds to reigning Olympic champion Miho Takagi of Japan.
McLeod, Stoppelmoor and Kleba tried a risky strategy for the first time in the Men’s Team Sprint, and it propelled them to the top of the podium.
“They tried this slingshot,” Kleba said of the move between McLeod and Stoppelmoor, “which I think ended up being a high-risk, high-reward kind of scenario.”
“We grab each other’s arm and from the second to third leg, I pulled him through,” McLeod said. “It’s the first time we tried it and it worked.”
They won the Team Sprint with a time of 1:20.27, beating runner-up China by .45 seconds.
Mia Manganello Kilburg nearly reached the podium in the Women’s Mass Start for the second straight week, finishing fourth with a time of 8:38.07. She won a Bronze medal in the World Cup opener.
Three-time Olympian Brittany Bowe finished sixth in the Women’s 1000m.
Multi-time World Cup team member, Sarah Warren, crossed the line in 10th in the 500m, a career best World Cup performance.
The World Cup circuit is off until Dec. 1-3, when it begins the European portion of the schedule in Stavanger, Norway.
Three-time World Champion and 2022 Olympian Jordan Stolz skipped the World Cup in Beijing to head over to Europe early and concentrate on training.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to USSpeedskating.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.