Olympic champion returns to Lincoln for in-line speedskating competition

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Olympic speedskater Erin Jackson got her start competing in the world of in-line speedskating.The 2022 Beijing Olympic gold medalist traveled to Lincoln during her summers growing up to compete at the indoor nationals at the Pershing center, which is no longer in use.

“I started out on roller-skates – on wheels – I was like what you consider a rink rat,” Jackson said. “From there I got into in-line speed skating when I was 10, and unfortunately, in-line is not an Olympic sport. So a lot of in-liners that want to chase Olympic dreams, they go over to the ice.”

Jackson had been competing within the National SpeedSkating Circuit, the professional league for in-line speed skating.

In 2017, she made the transition to speedskating on ice, where she quickly qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Four years later, she made history by becoming the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in long-track speedskating.

“There’s really not a whole lot of, you know, diversity in the sport, you know, especially in the U.S., Jackson said. “I’m the first, but I hope that people who see this, they’re kind of encouraged to, you know, go out and try these new sports and things. Hopefully, we’ll have like a second and a third and a fourth pretty soon.”

On Sunday, Jackson returns to Lincoln to compete in NSC 34, the National SpeedSkating Circuit professional league in which athletes race around a 100-meter wooden oval track at speeds close to 30 mph.

The concept of the NSC is to find out who the best overall male and female speedskaters are in the world.

There are two categories: sprinters and endurance for both men and women.

The top three overall sprinters and the top three overall endurance skaters move on to the Grand Champion Main Event, an 800-meter middle distance race.

The winners of the 800-meter Grand Champion Race for the men and women are awarded the coveted “Black Suit,” along with prize money for their accomplishment.

NSC President Miguel Jose said the NSC was started because in-line skating isn’t an Olympic sport.

“We love this sport; we think it’s one of the coolest sports in the world, and we believe that it needs to get more notoriety,” Jose said. “So instead of waiting on the chance of one day, being in the Olympic Games, we said, ‘Hey, let’s go be one of these sports where it’s cool if it gets in the Olympics, but if it doesn’t, we can still carry it with our promotions.’ ”

Tickets are available online at https://shop.pronsc.com/collections/tickets/products/nsc-tickets-jul-14th.

They can also be purchased at the door of the Speedway Sports Complex for $20.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and racing begins at 6:30 p.m.

Categories: National Sports, Sports