- 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
- 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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Joyner and her coach, Bob Kersee, came under media speculation when another athlete suggested that Joyner had used performance-enhancing drugs. Some attributed the substantial improvements Joyner made in her performance levels from 1984 to 1988 to illegal substances. Others thought that her incredibly muscular physique had to have been created with the help of performance-enhancing drugs.
Rumors also spread regarding Bob Kersee's training techniques,
suggesting that he could have been encouraging his runners to use steroids or other drugs in order to win medals. Joyner always insisted that she never used performance enhancers, however, and she never failed a drug test. In fact, according to CNN.com, Joyner took and passed 11 drug tests in 1988 alone.
Joyner remained involved in athletics in her retirement. She was appointed co-chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness in 1993 and went on to establish her own foundation for children in need. Nearly six years after the Seoul Olympics, in 1995, Joyner was honored with an induction into the Track and Field Hall of Fame. Around this time, she once again began training for the Olympics. But her comeback effort was curtailed by problems with her right Achilles tendon.
Joyner died unexpectedly of an epileptic seizure on September 21, 1998, at her home in Mission Viejo, California. She was only 38 years old at time and was survived by her husband and their daughter, Mary Joyner. Remarkably, more than 30 years later, Joyner still holds the world records in the 100- and 200-meter events, with times of 10.49 seconds and 21.34 seconds, respectively.
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