Gold medalist Erin Jackson still considers Pettit Center her home away from home

The Pettit Center holds a special place in Olympic speed skater Erin Jackson's heart. Since winning gold in the 500 last year, her life has been a whirlwind.
Erin Jackson
Posted at 9:35 AM, Nov 15, 2023

MILWAUKEE — "Livin' the dream!" Erin Jackson says.

Since winning gold in the 500 last year, Jackson's life has been a whirlwind.

"My coach Ryan, he makes sure I don't travel too much and when I do travel, he makes sure I keep up with my workouts and things like that," Jackson says.

And here's just a slice of her schedule.

"I left Salt Lake City a few days ago," Jackson says. “And now I’ll be gone for two months straight basically. I’ll leave here for the Pan American Games for inline skating in Santiago, Chile. So I go straight from here to there, and then onto the World Cup Circuit."

Plus the opportunities she's had since Olympic glory? Amazing.

"I've done some pretty awesome things," Jackson says. “I think the top one was the fighter jet, [it] was pretty cool. Riding an F-16 and I got to fly it a little bit. And then ‘Special Forces’ has been great.”

Yet she has to give credit where credit is due. How Brittany Bowe gave up her place at the U.S. Olympic Trials on the Pettit Center ice, just to give Jackson the shot at gold.

"It was amazing what Brittany did for me at the Olympic Trials,” Jackson says. “She’s a great friend, great teammate. Selfless. It’s just hard to imagine someone making that kind of sacrifice for you, it’s still pretty hard to wrap my head around. She’s pretty awesome.”

So now, Jackson considers the Pettit her home away from home.

"I love, I love it," Jackson says. “I was just explaining to a new skater who has only raced in Salt Lake City, I was explaining, ‘once you get to the Pettit, it’s going to feel like home, it’s awesome. It’s going to feel like comfortable ice,’ so I got to someone else excited about coming here too. I love it.”

By the way, Americans Kimi Goetz and Erin Jackson finished one-two in the first World Cup event of the season also on a day when American speed skaters combined for five podium finishes.