via essence:

Athletes from around the world dream of winning the coveted gold medal. This year the very best athletes in the world will have that chance.

The 2018 Winter Olympics kicks off Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea. Among the competitors are a group of dedicated Black women who have waited for this moment, and we’re here to root them on.

Before the torch is lit, check out the Black Girl Magic taking over the XXIII Olympic Winter Games.

Erin Jackson

No one was more shocked at Erin Jackson making the U.S. Olympic speed skating team than Jackson herself. While Jackson has been an inline speed skater for 15 years, she made the Olympic team after only competing for four months. “I really wasn’t expecting any of this, just coming in as a newbie, just trying to do the best I can. A couple weeks ago, I was still in the 40s. I think I hadn’t even broken 40 [seconds] yet, so it’s all happened really fast,” she said. Jackson has already earned 11 world medals and 47 national championships during her careers. She has had the honor of being name the U.S. Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Year for Roller Sports three times.

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