Monday, March 22, 2010

Women's History Month - Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Track and field athlete. Born Jacqueline Joyner on March 3, 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Joyner-Kersee attended UCLA, where she starred in both track and basketball. One of the greatest female athletes in history, she won a silver medal in the heptathlon in the 1984 Olympics and gold medals in the 1988 and 1992 Games. She also won a gold medal in the long jump in 1988 and a bronze at the 1992 Olympics. Joyner-Kersee is the heptathlon world record-holder and American record-holder in the long jump.

Jackie married her controversial coach, Bob Kersee, in 1986. Joyner-Kersee's brother, Al Joyner, is also an Olympic gold medalist, having won the Olympic triple jump in 1984. Her sister-in-law is the late track star Florence Griffith Joyner.

A sufferer of exercise-induced asthma, Joyner-Kersee officially retired from track and field in 2001 at age 38. After her retirement, she started the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation to encourage kids in her underprivileged hometown to play sports.

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