Brittany Bowe to Compete in 500m Race at Winter Olympics After Giving Up Event Spot to Teammate

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Brittany Bowe
Brittany Bowe

Peter Dejong/AP/Shutterstock

United States speed skater Brittany Bowe will get to compete in the 500m race at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics after all.

Earlier this month, the 33-year-old athlete gave up her spot in the event to Erin Jackson, who finished in third at the qualifying race behind first-place Bowe and second-place Kimi Goetz, leaving her one spot shy of making Team USA.

But Bowe will now have her own shot at winning Olympic gold in the women's 500m, as the U.S. has picked up an extra spot after some countries returned quota spots for the event, according to NBC Sports.

During the U.S. long-track speed skating trials on Jan. 7, a slip on the ice led Jackson, 29, to place third in the 500m qualifier. Jackson, who is ranked No. 1 in the world in the race, told NBC Sports after the race that she "couldn't turn my brain off" and that having the sport be "in limbo for so long" made her situation "really stressful."

Erin Jackson and Brittany Bowe
Erin Jackson and Brittany Bowe

Stacy Revere/Getty

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Two days later, Bowe announced that she had relinquished her spot in the 500m race at the Winter Games to her fellow female athlete. Bowe had also qualified in the 1000m and 1500m, so her decision did not affect her own ability to compete in the Games.

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"First and foremost, Erin has earned her right to be on this 500-meter team. No one is more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal," Bowe said of her decision at the time.

Brittany Bowe
Brittany Bowe

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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"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, she could have my place," she added.

The Washington Post previously reported that Bowe and Jackson both grew up in Ocala, Florida, and have known each other for almost two decades.

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Jackson, who became the first Black woman to make a U.S. Olympic long track team in 2018, told NBC News that she was simply pleased to have the opportunity to race in the upcoming Beijing Games.

"It's hard to even really put it into words," she said. "I'm beyond grateful and humbled, and just — I'm happy."

Brittany Bowe
Brittany Bowe

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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Speaking of their long-standing relationship, Jackson told the Post that Bowe has "always been there for me, helping me out, even when I was just, like, the new kid back in Ocala."

"She's always been an awesome mentor and an amazing person. Someone who I can talk to if I need a friend, or advice or anything," Jackson said of Bowe. "It's an amazing relationship, and I'm just so grateful."

Team USA also picked up spots in the 3000m and men's 1500m races, to be filled by Mia Manganello Kilburg and Casey Dawson, respectively.

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning Feb 3, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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