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Brittany Bowe wins the first individual medal of her speed skating career after sacrificing her Olympic spot for a teammate

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Brittany Bowe poses with her Olympic bronze medal.
Brittany Bowe poses with her Olympic bronze medal.
  • Brittany Bowe gave up her spot in an Olympic race so teammate Erin Jackson could compete in Beijing.
  • The veteran American speed skater's sacrifice paved the way for Jackson to win a gold medal.
  • Days later, Bowe followed up that effort by winning the first individual Olympic medal of her career.

Brittany Bowe paved the way for teammate Erin Jackson to win gold at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Just days later, she went ahead and won a medal of her own.

The American speed skater took home the bronze in the women's 1000-meter event on Thursday, marking her illustrious career's first individual Olympic medal. Bowe — who represented Team USA as one of the country's flag bearers at the opening ceremony — recorded a 1:14.61 time to finish just under a second and a half slower than Japanese gold medalist Miho Takagi.

Brittany Bowe.
Bowe skates in the 1000-meter race in Beijing.

But well before the games began, Bowe made a sacrifice to help improve Team USA's gold-medal chances. Jackson — the winner of four of the past eight World Cups in the 500-meter race — uncharacteristically slipped during her qualifying event at US Olympic Speed Skating Trials in January, losing precious fractions of a second off of her time and falling to third overall.

Only the first two finishers were guaranteed spots in Beijing, so Bowe — who finished first in the event despite specializing in longer races — offered to give up hers. Though she wound up qualifying after all, there was no guarantee she'd make the field for the 500-meter race once she relinquished her place to Jackson.

"The world has long since known that she is a great athlete," Jackson said of Bowe. "With her gesture to me, the world got to see that she is a great leader of our speed skating team, a great person, and a great friend."

Team USA speed skaters Erin Jackson (left) and Brittany Bowe.
Erin Jackson (left) and Bowe.

Bowe was among the first to congratulate Jackson on the career-defining victory when her gamble paid off in the form of a gold medal for Team USA. She hugged her longtime friend and fellow Florida native over the shoulders as the first Black woman gold medalist in the sport cried tears of joy.

Jackson, who had already traveled back to the states by the time Bowe took the ice for her final of three events in Beijing, took to Instagram to congratulate her friend on the feat:

Erin Jackson congratulates Brittany Bowe on her bronze medal.
Jackson congratulates Bowe on her bronze medal.

Before the games, Jackson told Insider that she wanted "to see Brittany Bowe with a gold medal around her neck" when all was said and done in Beijing. And though the 33-year-old didn't wind up with the top prize in her event, Bowe did join Jackson in bringing Olympic hardware back stateside.

"How cool would that be?" Jackson said ahead of the Olympics. "Two girls from Central Florida standing on ice on the other side of the world with medals!"

Read the original article on Insider


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