March 3, 1962 |
||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
||70 kg (150 lb)
|| United States
||Long jump, Heptathlon
Jacqueline "Jackie" Joyner-Kersee (born March 3, 1962) is a retired American athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the women's heptathlon as well as in the women's long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century, just ahead of Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
After retiring as a competitive athlete, Joyner-Kersee has been involved with many philanthropic efforts and has joined the Board of Directors for USA Track & Field (USATF), the national governing body of the sport.
Early life 
Jacqueline Joyner was born March 3, 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois, and was named after Jackie Kennedy. Her brother, Al Joyner, is also an Olympic gold medalist. As a high school athlete at East St. Louis Lincoln High School, she qualified for the finals in the Long Jump at the 1980 Olympic Trials, finishing 8th behind another high schooler, Carol Lewis. She was inspired to compete in multi-disciplinary track & field events after seeing a 1975 made-for-TV movie about Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Interestingly, Didrikson, the trackster, basketball player, and pro golfer, was chosen the "Greatest Female Athlete of the First Half of the 20th Century. Fifteen years later, "Sports Illustrated for Women" magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the greatest female athlete of "all time".
Joyner-Kersee attended college at the University of California at Los Angeles, where she starred in both track & field and in women's basketball from 1980-1985. She was a starter in her forward position for each of her first three seasons (1980–81, 81-82, and 82-83) as well as in her senior (fifth) year, 1984-1985. She had red-shirted during the 1983-1984 academic year to concentrate on the heptathlon for the 1984 Summer Olympics.
She scored 1,167 points during her collegiate career, which places her 19th all time for the Bruins games. The Bruins advanced to the West Regional semi-finals of the 1985 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament before losing to eventual runner-up Georgia.
She was honored on 21 February 1998 as one of the 15 greatest players in UCLA women's basketball. In April 2001, Joyner-Kersee was voted the "Top Woman Collegiate Athlete of the Past 25 Years." The vote was conducted among the 976 NCAA member schools.
1984 Summer Olympics 
Joyner-Kersee competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and won the silver medal in the heptathlon. She was the favorite heading into the event, but finished 5 points behind Australian Glynis Nunn.
1986 Goodwill Games 
Joyner-Kersee was the first woman to score over 7,000 points in a heptathlon event (during the 1986 Goodwill Games). In 1986, she received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.
1988 Summer Olympics 
In the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, Joyner-Kersee earned gold medals in both the heptathlon and the long jump. At the 1988 Games in Seoul, she set the still-standing heptathlon world record of 7,291 points. The silver and bronze medalists were Sabine John and Anke Vater-Behmer, both of whom were representing East Germany. Five days later, Joyner-Kersee won her second gold medal, leaping to an Olympic record of 7.40 m (24 ft 3 in) in the long jump.
1991 World Championships Tokyo 
She was everyone's favorite to retain both her World titles earned four years earlier in Rome. However her challenge was dramatically halted when, having won the long jump easily with a 7.32 m (24 ft 0 in) jump no one would beat, she slipped on the take off board and careened head first into the pit, luckily avoiding serious injury. She did, however, strain a hamstring, which led to her having to pull out of the heptathlon during the 200 m at the end of the first day.
1992 Summer Olympics 
In the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Joyner-Kersee earned her second Olympic gold medal in the heptathlon. She also won the bronze medal in the long jump which was won by her friend Heike Drechsler of Germany.
1996 Summer Olympics 
At the Olympic Trials, Joyner-Kersee sustained an injury to her right hamstring. When the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia began, Joyner-Kersee was not fully recovered by the time the heptathlon started. After running the first event, the 100 m hurdles, the pain was unbearable and she withdrew. She was able to recover well enough to compete in the long jump and qualify for the final, but was in sixth place in the final with one jump remaining. Her final jump of 7.00 m (23 ft 0 in) was long enough for her to win the bronze medal. The Atlanta Olympics would be the last Olympics of Joyner-Kersee's long competitive career.
Professional Basketball Career 
In 1996 she signed on to play pro basketball for the Richmond Rage of the fledgling American Basketball League. Although she was very popular with the fans, she was less successful on the court. She appeared in only 17 games, and scored no more than four points in any game.
1998 Goodwill Games 
Returning to track, Joyner-Kersee won the heptathlon again at the 1998 Goodwill Games, scoring 6,502 points.
2000 Olympic Trials 
Joyner-Kersee made her final bow in track & field competition in 2000. She was sixth in the long jump (21-10.75) at the Olympic Trials.
Awards and honors 
Current world records 
As of May 2012long jump record of 7.49 m is second on the long jump all time list. In addition to heptathlon and long jump, she was a world class athlete in 100 m hurdles and 200 meters being as of June 2006 in top 60 all time in those events.
, Joyner-Kersee holds the world record in heptathlon along with the top six all time best results whilst her
Sports Illustrated voted her the greatest female athlete of the 20th century.
Joyner-Kersee has consistently maintained that she has competed throughout her career without performance-enhancing drugs.
Personal bests 
Performances table during the world record in 1988
|100 metres hurdles
||Heptathlon Best; highest score for a single event
||2 min 8.51 s
- Personal bests
Personal life 
Jackie's brother is the Olympic champion triple jumper Al Joyner, who was married to another Olympic track champion, the late Florence Griffith-Joyner. Jackie married her track coach, Bob Kersee, in 1986.
In 1988, Joyner-Kersee established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, which provides youth, adults, and families with athletic lessons and the resources to improve their quality of life with special attention directed to East St. Louis, Illinois. In 2007, Jackie Joyner-Kersee along with Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Mia Hamm, Jeff Gordon, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning, and Cal Ripken, Jr. founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization, which helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and inspires millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support the community.
External links