Brittany Bowe gives Erin Jackson a spot on the US Olympic team after speed skating trials


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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 Olympic speed skating trials, and because it did, an athlete’s Olympic dreams are being realized.

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

“Coming out of the corner it seemed like she just had a big slip that she definitely had like a wobble,” said two-time Olympian Jessica Kooreman.

Whatever you call it, it meant that the world’s top-ranked athlete in the 500-meter dash finished third in the Olympic trials and only the top two finishers make it to the Olympics. Brittany Bowe, the woman who finished first, decided to give up her place.


“After that unfortunate slip-up, I knew before the end of the night that if any of my decisions came up, she could take my place,” Bowe said.

It’s a selfless act from one Olympian to another — a gesture that’s made headlines around the world — unsurprisingly for Bowe’s former roommate and friend.

“It just shows what true sportsmanship is,” said Kooreman. “Your character is class through and through.”

Kooreman, who is from Dearborn, and Bowe grew up together in the inline skating world. They also trained together in Salt Lake City for five years before eventually competing at the Olympics together.

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

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

Kooreman says a shake like Erin Jackson’s isn’t uncommon. It doesn’t mean that much in a longer race, but in a short race it can mean anything, especially in the 500m.


Thanks to Bowe, it means nothing as Jackson is en route to Beijing. But Bowe’s gesture means the world.

“I have a hard time even putting it into words,” Jackson said. “I am exceedingly grateful, humbled and just plain happy.”

Bowe says Jackson deserves the spot and gives Team USA the best shot at a medal in the event. Bowe will also compete in the 1000m and 1500m events at the Olympics.

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