Brittany Bowe gives Erin Jackson spot on US Olympic team after speedskating trials

Split-second mistake almost cost speed skater chance at Winter Olympics

One of the best things about the Olympics is the spirit of the games, which can come in many forms. Last week, it showed up on the ice of the speedskating Olympic trials, and because it did, one athlete's Olympic dreams will come to fruition.

DEARBORN, Mich – One of the best things about the Olympics is the spirit of the games, which can come in many forms.

Last week, it showed up on the ice at the speedskating Olympic trials, and because it did, one athlete’s Olympic dreams will come to fruition.

It happened in a split second. If you blinked, you might have missed it.

“It seemed like as she was coming out of the corner, she just had a major slip she definitely had like a wobble,” said two-time Olympian Jessica Kooreman.

Whatever you call it, it meant the top-ranked female athlete in the world in the 500 meters finished third at the Olympic trials, and only the top two go on to the Olympic games. Brittany Bowe, the woman who finished first, decided to give up her spot.

“After that unfortunate slip, I knew in my mind before that night was even over that if it had to come down to a decision of mine that she could have my place,” Bowe said.

It is a selfless act from one Olympian to another -- a gesture that has made worldwide news -- to Bowes former roommate and friend, it doesn’t surprise her.

“That just shows what true sportsmanship is,” Kooreman said. “Her character is class act all the way.”

Kooreman, the Dearborn native, and Bowe grew up together in the inline skating world. They also trained together in Salt Lake City for five years before eventually competing in the Olympic games together.

Kooreman texted her friend when she heard what she had done.

“Proud of you for what you did,” Kooreman said. “She sent her message back, and I let her do her thing.”

Kooreman says a wobble like the one Erin Jackson had is not uncommon. It doesn’t mean as much in a longer race, but it could mean everything in a short race, especially the 500 meters.

Thanks to Bowe, it doesn’t mean anything as Jackson is headed to Beijing. But the gesture from Bowe means the world.

“It’s like hard for me to even really put it into words,” Jackson said. “I’m beyond grateful, humbled, and I’m just happy.”

Bowe says Jackson deserves the spot and gives Team U.S.A. the best shot at a medal in that event. Bowe will also compete in the 1000 and 1500 meter competitions in the Olympic games.


About the Authors:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.