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Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2011 - 14:44:53 

Women's History Month

Profiles of Great Women: Part 2
By Sarah Lane
Jan 21, 2008, 13:02 PST

Profiles of Great Women (2)

Profiles of Great Women – Part 2


Jackie Joyner-Kersee - Track and Field Athlete

Jackie Joyner was born on March 3rd, 1962 in East St. Louis, Illinois.  She came from a family well know for its athleticism as she was the younger sister of Olympic track and field star Al Joyner, and sister-in-law of the late track star Florence Griffith Joyner.  Not only did she overcome asthma to become a world heptathlon record holder, but she won several Olympic medals as well.  In high school she was a basketball and track star, gaining an athletic scholarship to UCLA.  She achieved her B.A. in History and in 1986 married Bob Kersee.


Perhaps Jackie’s greatest personal victory came when she became the first woman to ever win the gold medal in the long jump.  She made history at the 1988 Olympics.  She also won the silver for the heptathlon in 1984, and the bronze in the long jump in 1992.  Although she retired after the Goodwill games in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998, Jackie Joyner-Kersee still holds the world record in the long jump at 24 feet and 7 inches.  She has since founded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Community Foundation, which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth.

Source:, IAAF


Additional Learning Links


International Association of Athletics Federations

Read a short biography on Joyner-Kersee as well as other biographies from athletic legends such as Carl Lewis and Marita Koch from the Association of Athletics.

Source:             IAAF

Reading Level:   Easy


ESPN Internet Ventures

Read this in-depth article from ESPN Sports Century Athletes about Joyner-Kersee.  Learn about how her career began as well as some facts about growing up.

Source:             ESPN

Reading Level:   Moderate

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