jackie12.jpgFlorence Griffith-Joyner (born Delorez Florence Griffith), also known as Flo-Jo (December 21, 1959—September 21, 1998) was an American track and field athlete. She is best known for her media flamboyance and setting World Records in the 100 m and 200 m, which still stand as of 2007. Her career was dogged by allegations of drug use, which was speculated to have caused her premature death. She was the wife of track star Al Joyner and the sister-in-law of Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Already fast at an early age, Los Angeles-born, Jordan Downs-raised Delorez Florence Griffith finished fourth in the 200 m at the inaugural World Championship in 1983. The following year, she gained much more attention, though mostly because of her extremely long and colorful fingernails rather than her silver medal in the Los Angeles Olympics 200 m. In 1985 Flo Jo won the final of the Grand Prix with an 11.00 seconds.

After these Olympics, Griffith spent less time running and married 1984 Olympic triple jump champion Al Joyner. Returning at the 1987 World Championships, she finished second in the 200 m again. She stunned the world when—known as a 200 m runner—she ran a new 100 m World Record of 10.49 in the quarter-finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials. Reporters at the event commented that although the wind meter measured 0.0—indicating no wind—there was visual evidence of considerable wind in the stadium at the time of the race. Every event on that day measured excessive wind speeds and this led many to later suggest that the wind meter in the stadium malfunctioned during the race, but the record is still recognized. Joyner, her coach stated that he believed the 10.49 run to be wind aided as well. Flo-Jo never ran faster than 10.61 without excessive wind assistance that season.

Known by the world as “Flo-Jo,” Griffith-Joyner was the big favorite for the titles in the sprint events at the 1988 Summer Olympics. In the 100 m, she ran a (wind-assisted) 10.54 in the final, beating her nearest rival Evelyn Ashford by 3 tenths of a second. In the 200 m quarter-final race, she set a new world record of 21.34, and winning in final by .4 seconds. Griffith-Joyner was also a runner in both the 4 x 100 m and 4 x 400 m relay teams. She won a gold medal in the former event, and a silver in the latter, her first international 4 x 400 m relay. Her effort in the 100m was ranked 98th in Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Sporting Moments in 2002. She was the 1988 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Griffith-Joyner retired from competitive sports shortly after. Among the things she did away from the track was design the basketball uniforms for the Indiana Pacers.

Source: Wikipedia

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