Jackie Joyner Kersee

Category: Olympians
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Sports Speaker Jackie Joyner Kersee is one of the most prominent figures in the sport of track and field to this day; after all, she was named Sports Illustrated’s Greatest Female Athlete of the Twentieth Century. The hepathlete and long jumper has six Olympic medals, half of which are gold, from four consective Olympic games from 1984 to 1996. In addition to her Olympic career spanning over a decade, Jackie also has four World Championship titles, with two in the long jump and two in heptathlon. Describing her career as successful is an understatement, especially knowing that Jackie battled severe asthma and several hamstring injuries, and was concurrently on both the track and basketball teams during her time at UCLA.

After making her final appearance at the 200 Olympic Trials, Jackie gracefully retired from the sport after a long and successful competitive career. The fan favorite is also a two time winner of the Jesse Owens Award, the most prestigious award in the sport of track and field, and additionally earned the James E. Sullivan Award for becoming the first woman to score over 7,000 points in the heptathlon. Jackie still holds the world record in the grueling seven-in-one event. It came as no surprise when the superstar athlete was inducted into the USA Track & Field (USATF) Hall of Fame in 2004.

In 2007, Jackie teamed up with fellow sports greats Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Warrick Dunn, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Cal Ripken Jr., Andrea Jaeger, Mario Lemieux, Andre Agassi, Jeff Gordon, and Alonzo Mourning to establish the charitable organization Athletes for Hope. Jackie also founded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, aimed to improve the quality of life of residents of her hometown East St. Louis, Illonois, and serves on the Board of Directors for USATF. Interestingly enough, Jackie’s brother Al Joyner also won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in the triple jump. Jackie is a Christian and is married to her former coach, Bob Kersee.