Today in Black History, I wanted to pay homage to woman who inspired me as runner making it ok to be fly and fashionable when going for the gold. Today, we honor the fastest woman of all time, Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith Joyner! May you continue to rest in paradise. Read more about her here.
Florence aka Flo Jo was known more for just er beauty, flashy fashion on the track and long glammed out nails. She was the fastest woman of all time and still holds her records to this day!
Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner (December 21, 1959 – September 21, 1998), also known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete. She is considered the “fastest woman of all time” based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 metres and 200 metres still stand and have yet to be seriously challenged. She died in her sleep as the result of an epileptic seizure in 1998 at the age of 38. She attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Griffith was born in Los Angeles, California, and she was raised in the Jordan Downs public housing complex. During the late 1980s she became a popular figure in international track and field because of her record-setting performances and flashy personal style. She was the wife of the triple jumper Al Joyner and the sister-in-law of the heptathlete and long jumper Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Griffith ran track at Jordan High School in Los Angeles. As a senior in 1978, she finished 6th at the CIF California State Meet behind future teammates Alice Brown and Pam Marshall. Griffith attended the California State University at Northridge, and she was on the track team coached by Joyner-Kersee’s future husband, Bob Kersee. This team also included her teammates Brown and Jeanette Bolden. However, Griffith had to drop out in order to support her family, and then she took a job as a bank teller. Kersee was then able to find financial aid for Griffith and she returned to college. Brown, Bolden, and Griffith qualified for the 100-meter final at the trials for the 1980 Summer Olympics (Brown winning, Griffith last in the final). Griffith also ran the 200 meters, narrowly finishing in 4th, a foot out of a qualifying position. But the U.S. Government had already decided to boycott those Olympic Games mooting those results. After the season Kersee became the head coach of the track team at the University of California at Los Angeles, which prompted Griffith to also transfer there, since she was academically eligible to do so. In 1982, Griffith graduated from UCLA with her bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Griffith finished fourth in the 200-meter sprint at the first World Championship in Athletics in 1983. The following year she gained much more attention, though mostly because of her extremely long and colourful fingernails, rather than the silver medal that she won in the 1984 Summer Olympics. In 1985, she won the 100-metre IAAF Grand Prix Final with the time of 11.00 seconds. After the 1984 Olympic Games, she spent less time running, and she married the Olympic triple jump champion of 1984, Al Joyner, in 1987.
Upon returning at the 1987 World Championships, Griffith Joyner finished second again in the 200-metre sprint.
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