December 21, 2013

Happy Birthday: Florence Griffith-Joyner (1959-1998)


My favorite female athlete of all times is Florence Griffith-Joyner ... or Flo-Jo. Flo-Jo was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1959.

She was a dominant track star in the 1980s. In fact, the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul Korea is forever imprinted in my mind as the Games of Flo-Jo. In the 1988 Seoul Games, she won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and in the 400-meter relay. For these accomplishments, she received the Jesse Owens Award, given to the year's top track and field athlete, and the Sullivan Award, given to the year's most outstanding amateur athlete.

Only us villagers from a certain generation can remember her flashy one-legged uniforms as well as her long and extravagantly painted fingernails. Check out this video to gain an appreciation of this powerful female athlete:



Flo-Jo retired from track in 1989 to devote more time to endorsement activities, modeling, writing, and coaching her husband. President Bill Clinton appointed Griffith-Joyner co-chairperson of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1993.

Some, like Marion Jones, tried to emulate her without success. Florence Griffith-Joyner died of an apparent heart seizure in 1998.

Do you remember Flo-Jo? What female athlete do you think can challenge her as the greatest of all times?

2 comments:

Ned Hamson said...

Flo-Jo was indeed great but - grin - the greatest for me comes from my generation - Wilma Rudolph. I got to see her run in meets twice and each time those long legs just flew and she ran with a grace that was palpable! http://www.theguardian.com/sport/gallery/2012/jun/01/olympic-moments-wilma-rudolph-gallery#/?picture=390973069&index=0

Wayne Hicks said...

Ned - I reviewed the photo gallery link that you shared. Wilma Rudolph definitely broke through some barriers and overcame remarkable hurdles. Very cool!