Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee is a retired American track and field athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as 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 All-Time. She is on the board of directors for USA Track & Field (U.S.A.T.F.), the national governing body of the sport.

Jackie Joyner attended college at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 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 won the Broderick Award, (now the Honda Sports Award) as the nation's best female collegiate track and field competitor in 1983 and in 1985, and was awarded the Honda-Broderick Cup, given to the nation's best female collegiate athlete in 1985.

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 February 21, 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 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 five points behind Australian Glynis Nunn. She also placed fifth in the long jump.

1986 Goodwill Games
Joyner 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
Now known as Jackie Joyner-Kersee after marrying her coach Bob Kersee, She entered the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea and earned gold medals in both the heptathlon and the long jump. At the Games, 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+1⁄4 in) in the long jump. She was the first American woman to earn a gold medal in long jump as well as the first American woman to earn a gold medal in heptathlon.

1991 World Championships
Joyner-Kersee 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 1⁄4 in) jump no one would beat, she slipped on the take-off board and careened headfirst into the pit, 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 (22 ft 11+1⁄2 in) was long enough for her to win the bronze medal. The Atlanta Olympics was the last Olympics of Joyner-Kersee's long competitive career.

Professional basketball career
In 1996 Joyner-Kersee 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 15 points in any game.

1998 Goodwill Games
Returning to track, Joyner-Kersee won the heptathlon at the 1998 Goodwill Games, scoring 6,502 points.

Joyner-Kersee is an active philanthropist in children's education, racial equality and women's rights. She is a founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, which encourages young people in East St. Louis to pursue athletics and academics. She collaborated with Comcast to create the Internet Essentials program in 2011, which provides high-speed internet access to low-income Americans.