- NAME: Florence Joyner
- OCCUPATION: Track and Field Athlete
- BIRTH DATE: December 21, 1959
- DEATH DATE: September 21, 1998
- EDUCATION: Jordan High School, California State University at Northridge, University of California Los Angeles
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Los Angeles, California
- PLACE OF DEATH: Mission Viejo, California
- AKA: Florence Griffith-Joyner
- AKA: Florence Joyner
- Nickname: "Flo Jo"
- Full Name: Florence Delorez Griffith-Joyner
- Maiden Name: Florence Delorez Griffith
- AKA: Florence Griffith Joyner
Best Known For
Olympic gold medalist Florence Joyner brought style to track and field with form-fitting bodysuits, six-inch fingernails and amazing speed. She still holds the world records in the 100- and 200-meter events.
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Florence Joyner, also known as "Flo Jo," was born in Los Angeles, California, on December 21, 1959. At the 1984 Summer Olympics, Joyner won a silver medal in the 200-meter run. She married fellow athlete Al Joyner, the brother of famed athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee. At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Joyner took home three gold medals and a silver. She and her coach, Bob Kersee,
"I know exactly what people are saying about me. And it's simply not true. I don't need to use drugs. They can come and test me every week of the year if they want to. I've got nothing to hide."
"The ladder of success is never crowded at the top."
"If you want to run like a man, you have to train like a man."
"I have the dream of running the marathon because I just love running. I'll go out and just run and run and run along the roads. I love the fact of running."
"If I stop to kick every barking dog, I'm not going to get to the places I need to go."
"I wasn't chasing a world record for the finals. I was just chasing a gold medal."
"There's no substitute for hard work ... I have the medals to prove it!"
"If I can run relaxed and run right through the tape, the record will come."
"I've been in track and field for more than 20 years, and out of all my races, I've lost more than I've won. But it's all been fun."
"She passed the final, ultimate drug test."
"We were dazzled by her speed, humbled by her talent and captivated by her style."
came under media speculation when rumors spread that she might have been using performance-enhancing drugs to improve her times. Joyner died unexpectedly in September 1998, at age 38, after suffering an epileptic seizure. She still holds the world records in the 100- and 200-meter events.
Olympian Florence Joyner, known widely as "Flo Jo," was born Florence Delorez Griffith on December 21, 1959, in Los Angeles, California, and went on to become one of the fastest competitive runners of the 1980s. Joyner began running at the age of 7, and her gift for speed soon became apparent. At the age of 14, she won the Jesse Owens National Youth Games. She later competed for Jordan High School, where she served as the anchor on the relay team, and then went on to race at the college level.
After attending California State University at Northridge, Joyner transferred to the University of California Los Angeles, where she quickly earned a reputation as a track star. She became a NCAA champion in 1982 with a victory in the 200-meter event. The following year, she took the top spot in the 400 meter.
Coached by Bob Kersee, Joyner made her Olympic debut in 1984, at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. There, she won a silver medal for the 200-meter run, and became known for her world-record speed, form-fitting bodysuits and six-inch fingernails. A few years later, in 1987, Florence married fellow athlete Al Joyner, the brother of famed athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee (taking the legal name Florence Delorez Griffith-Joyner, she became publicly known as Florence Joyner, or "Flo Jo," at this time).
Around this time, Joyner selected her husband to serve as a coach, dropping Kersee. She had taken a break from competing after the 1984 Olympics and had just decided to re-enter racing. Before long, however, she began training again for the 1988 Olympic Games under Bob Kersee, the husband of Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Joyner's hard work paid off at the 1988 Summer Olympics, held in Seoul, South Korea. She took home three gold medals, in the 4-by-100 meter relay, and the 100- and 200-meter runs; as well as a silver medal in the 4-by-400 meter relay.
Joyner's Olympic performance brought her all kinds of other accolades. She was named The Associated Press' "Female Athlete of the Year" and Track and Field magazine's "Athlete of the Year." Joyner also won the Sullivan Award for best amateur athlete.
After the 1988 Olympics, Joyner retired from competition. Suspicions soon arose regarding how the so-called "world's fastest woman" achieved her victories.
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