As one of the most decorated female athletes of all time, Jackie Joyner-Kersee dominated the track and field circuit for 13 years and won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals spanning four Olympic Games during her illustrious career. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, she won the silver medal in the heptathlon. Four years later, at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Korea, Joyner-Kersee struck gold in both her signature events – the heptathlon (world record) and long jump. She followed that up at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain, by winning gold in the heptathlon and bronze in the long jump. In her final Olympic appearance at the 1996 Atlanta Games, she won the bronze medal in the long jump. In addition, she won a total of four gold medals (two in the heptathlon and two in the long jump) at three different World Championships and finished first in the long jump at the 1987 Pan American Games.
Sports Illustrated for Women magazine named Jackie Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century. On three different occasions (1994, 1987, and 1986), she was honored by Track & Field News as the World Athlete of the Year. She also was named as the top American Athlete five times (1994, 1992, 1991, 1987, and 1986).
The inaugural recipient of the Humanitarian Athlete of the Year, Joyner-Kersee is known worldwide for her interest in aiding others. She has helped to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois, that has raised more than $12 million. In 2007, she – along with several notable athletes – founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization of professional athletes who get involved in charitable causes and inspire millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support their community.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is the author of A Kind of Grace, in which she recounts how she overcame her difficult early years to rise to the top. A health advocate and humanitarian, she shares her life story and work with audiences around the country in inspirational keynotes.
The Power of Caring: The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation
Asthma All-Star: Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Jackie’s Gold Medal Faith: Running the Race with Grace & Humility On & Off the Track