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Meet the Athletes: Erin Jackson

Meet the Athletes: Erin Jackson
Posted at 1:58 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 17:03:30-05

There’s not much that Erin Jackson can’t do on a pair of skates... or blades. The Ocala, Florida native has followed closely behind Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia – both also from the balmy Central Florida town – in establishing herself as a medal contender in speed staking at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Before that, though, she ran the gambit of skating sports from artistic skating (figure skating but with roller skates) to roller derby. She is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in the 500m speed skating discipline.

As part of our preparation for the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to multiple athletes to learn more about their lives both inside and outside of sports. Here’s what we found out about Jackson:

Tell us about your family.
My dad, Tracy Jackson, is an army veteran and a retired fire truck builder. He recently moved from Florida to join me in Utah. We now have a house together near the Olympic Oval. My mom, Rita Jackson, was a pharmacy technician. She passed away when I was in high school. My brother, Corey Farmer, works in the roofing industry and lives in Florida with his wife. Since both of parents came from large families, I have a very large extended family.

How has your hometown shaped who you are today?
Fun fact: My hometown of Ocala, Florida boasts three long track speed skating Olympians (Brittany Bowe, Joey Mantia and myself) thanks to our world-renowned inline speed skating coach, Renee Hildebrand. Olympic hopeful Paige Schwartzburg is also from Ocala, and Olympian Mia Kilburg trained there for many years as a child.

Where else have you lived?
I lived in Gainesville, Florida while attending the University of Florida. I have family in states including Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin and Ohio.

What is a typical training day like?
I wake up around 6:30 a.m., eat breakfast and head to the rink. My warmup typically takes an hour and includes spinning/biking, dynamic exercises, stretching, core exercises, foam rolling, and "pre-hab" work to control injuries. The first training session of the day is usually on ice at 9 a.m. We go home for lunch then meet up again around 2 or 3 p.m. for the second session (either strength and conditioning, skating simulation exercises, or running/cycling).

What is your earliest memory of the Olympics?
I began skating as an artistic skater (figure skating on roller skates). I remember watching Michelle Kwan and other figure skaters competing in the Olympics when I was a kid. As I got older and switched to inline speed skating, I enjoyed watching Apollo Ohno in short track. However, my favorite memory was watching former inline teammates Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia compete in the Sochi Olympics. I didn't imagine myself there yet because I was still focused on inline skating (which is not an Olympic sport) and had no plans of switching to speedskating on ice.

Did you have a specific breakthrough moment in your career?
My breakthrough moment didn't come until after the first 500m race of the 2018 Olympic Trials (the fastest time of two 500m races is counted). I had just under five months of long track speed skating under my belt and entered Trials as just a regular race to see how I was progressing. It wasn't until after that first run in the 500 that I thought, "Wow, I might go to the Olympics!"

Do you participate in any other sports?
Inline speed skating and roller derby. They are both fun sports that provide great cardio/cross-training.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I'm an expert napper who can fall asleep anytime and anywhere.