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Olympic gold medalist Erin Jackson reflects on her journey into history: "It's never too late to start your impossible"

Erin Jackson on winning gold in speed skating
Erin Jackson, first Black woman to win Olympic gold in speed skating, discusses her historic win 06:19

For some Olympic skaters, being on the ice is all they have ever known—spending most of their lives training to perform and represent their country. But that was not the case for 29-year-old Erin Jackson.

Growing up in Ocala, Florida, ice skating is not common, and Jackson had not even stepped on an ice rink until 2016. It did not take long for Jackson to adjust and skate her way to the top—competing in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics 

"It's never too late to start your impossible. It might seem kind of impossible but you just have to put the work in," Jackson told "CBS Mornings." 

Erin Jackson won a gold medal in the 500-meter speed skating event, becoming the first Black woman to ever win a gold medal in speed skating. She is also the first American to win the race since 1994. Jackson said that the exhilarating feelings from that moment have not gone away yet.  

"It feels amazing. There is just a lot of happiness, a lot of relief, a lot of excitement and it's a lot, a lot of good things," said Jackson. 

Many across the world, including "CBS Morning" co-host Gayle King and Oprah, have sent messages of support to Jackson for her historic win. 

"I feel like that is kind of one of the best parts is just getting to see all the reaction, all the messages, it's been really cool," said Jackson. 

It has been 20 years since American bobsledder Vonetta Flowers became the first Black and African-American athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Jackson now follows her in the record books and says she hopes to see more continue on the same path. 

"I just hope it isn't 20 years for the next one," she said. 

Pressure is something that shapes Jackson and other Olympic athletes. During the Games, the world sees some of the competitors' proudest and lowest career moments — and Jackson said that pressure creates a bond.  

"I think it is really important that we all support each other and I am just really lucky to have a really awesome crew behind me, like my coaches and teammates, it's just been amazing," Jackson said. 

One of those teammates is speed skater Brittany Bowe, who gave up her spot to compete in the race to Jackson after she had placed third in a qualifying race. Bowe went on to win the bronze in the women's 1,000-meter event. 

Jackson said she can never stop talking about Bowen's sacrifice and what it means to her. 

"It's so amazing and it's just hard to imagine someone making that sort of a sacrifice for you and... it was amazing. She is an amazingly selfless person," Jackson said.  

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