'Special Forces: World's Toughest Test' Star Erin Jackson Opens Up About Her Mom

Olympic speed skater Erin Jackson discussed the loss of her mother in a difficult 'Special Forces: World's Toughest Test' Season 2 episode.

Brittany Frederick - Author

Oct. 17 2023, Published 8:20 a.m. ET

Erin Jackson in a raft on 'Special Forces: World's Toughest Test'
Source: FOX

The Gist:

  • Erin Jackson is an Olympic speed skater.
  • She is competing on Season 2 of Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
  • Erin opened up about the loss of her mother and how that has impacted her.
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Spoiler alert: The following contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 4 of Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.

FOX's reality competition series Special Forces: World's Toughest Test often includes celebrities talking about the personal experiences that have shaped them or pushed them to challenge themselves. It's these moments that remind viewers that the mental and emotional component is just as important as someone's physical strength.

In Season 2, Episode 4 entitled "Character," Olympic gold medalist Erin Jackson opened up on Special Forces about her parents — particularly her mother. Continue reading to find out what Erin said on the FOX series about her family, and how she connected with another member of the cast over her backstory.

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Erin Jackson in the water on 'Special Forces: World's Toughest Test'
Source: FOX

Erin Jackson discussed the death of her mother during 'Special Forces' questioning.

In "Character," the Directing Staff hoped that Erin's Olympic background — she was the first Black American woman to win a Winter Olympics gold medal in an individual sport — would make her an effective team leader. They placed her in charge of leading one team to maneuver a boat across difficult terrain in a race, but her inability to give direction cost Team Bravo significantly.

As a result, the DS called Erin in for questioning, and that was when she discussed the death of her mother.

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"My mom [Rita Jackson] was a pharmacy technician and she passed away when I was in high school," Erin explained, adding that her mom had been "sick for a long time" before her passing.

Erin also revealed that she wasn't present when her mother passed away; she was overseas at a competition, and took the loss particularly hard. "[I was] just trying to stay strong," she said, "and not really let it affect me."

However, she later told the camera that she often thinks about all the things her mother never got to experience, such as seeing her win that groundbreaking gold medal in the women's 500-meter speed skating event in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

"I cried a lot in those moments," she reflected, "and part of it was thinking 'Oh, my mom would really love to see this.'"

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Erin Jackson carrying tires on 'Special Forces: World's Toughest Test'
Source: FOX

Erin also spoke about her relationship with her dad in 'Special Forces.'

In addition to relating the heartbreaking story of her mom's passing, Erin also spoke briefly about her father Tracy Jackson, saying that he spent 20 years in the Army. Following her questioning by the DS, she had a heart-to-heart with fellow Special Forces cast member Tyler Cameron, telling him that her father was "a pretty quiet guy" whom she always got along with.

"[I] butted heads with my mom quite a bit," she told Tyler.

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Tyler could empathize with Erin, as the Special Forces episode also revealed that he had lost his mother to a brain aneurysm. Their personal stories were two of several emotional moments in the episode. Tom Sandoval struggled with himself during a second challenge in which the recruits were made to fight each other.

It's clear Erin and her fellow recruits have a lot of work left to do, and they'll likely end up opening themselves up more as Season 2 is only four episodes in.

Special Forces: World's Toughest Test airs on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on FOX.

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