World number one Jackson had failed to qualify after slipping in the US trials but won gold in Beijing ©Getty Images

Erin Jackson of the United States produced a barnstorming performance to win an emotional women’s 500 metres speed skating gold here in Beijing.

Her winning time of 37.04 was just 0.08 seconds ahead of Japan’s Miho Takagi in 37.12.

Angelina Golikova of the Russian Olympic Committee took bronze in 37.21.

Jackson’s performance vindicated the decision of team mate Brittany Bowe to hand her spot in the team to world number one Jackson after a slip in the US trials had apparently cost Jackson her Olympic spot.

"Brittany was amazing, very selfless," Jackson said.  

"She sacrificed her spot to help me get on the team.

"I was really grateful for her doing that and then luckily we ended up getting that third spot, so then she was able to race as well."

Bowe finished and was the first to congratulate Jackson after the race.

Jackson displays the gold medal time of 37.04 seconds ©Getty Images
Jackson displays the gold medal time of 37.04 seconds ©Getty Images

"Words can't explain how proud I am of her," Bowe said.

"I knew she had the chance to do something really special and she just showed the world why she deserved to be here, and she's Olympic champion.

"I said it time and time again but our trials were just crazy, and although I won, I felt everything other than being victorious.

"The only thing on my mind was getting Erin to the start line here."

Jackson added: "At the time when she gave up her spot, she didn't know we were getting a third one, so she made a really big sacrifice for me and I will be grateful to her forever."

Takagi had posted her time in the fourth pairing but Jackson went second to last, blasted off fast and kept accelerating.

On the day of the Super Bowl there was no malfunction of any kind from this Ms Jackson.

"It's been a big roller coaster," she admitted.

"There's been happiness, stress, happiness.

"It's been a wild ride but this makes it even sweeter."