American speed skater and World Cup standings leader Erin Jackson will make her 2022 Winter Olympic debut on Sunday. She and fellow Americans Brittany Bowe and Kimi Goetz will race in the women's 500m.
Jackson made the U.S. Olympic team in 2018 as a newcomer of speed skating. Four years and many wins later, she is a contender to earn a medal.
"I perform better under pressure," Jackson said before the Olympics. "When it's a high pressure situation like Olympic Trials or the Olympics, I'm kind of feeding off of that energy.
"I just feel ready."
Bowe won the 500m competition at U.S. Trials, but her primary distances are the 1000m and 1500m. Jackson slipped during her trial run and finished third, which was not an automatic bid. Bowe gave up her spot for Jackson to compete, but the U.S. eventually gained a third qualifier, so Bowe is able to skate.
No American woman has earned the gold medal in the 500m since Bonnie Blair won her third in a row at the 1994 Olympics.
Other contenders to know
Nao Kodaira of Japan returns as the defending gold medalist. She set the Olympic record in 2018 to become the first Japanese skater to win the women's 500m event at the Winter Olympics. The 35-year-old is third in the World Cup standings entering her fourth Olympic Games.
The ROC's Angelina Golikova is the reigning world champion and is second in the World Cup. The Moscow native is competing at her third Olympics.
Fifteen pairs of skaters will compete. Bowe is up fifth, then Goetz 11th and Jackson 14th.
Men's team pursuit
The men's team pursuit semifinals are also on the docket for Sunday.
Eight teams will skate for the fastest four times to advance.
The competitors are South Korea, the Netherlands, the ROC, Italy, Canada, Norway, China and the United States.
Norway won the event at the 2018 Winter Olympics.