In Black America Podcast: IAAF Hall of Famer Jackie Joyner-Kersee
On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic champion and philanthropist. Having been dubbed ‘The Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century’ by Sports Illustrated Magazine, Jackie Joyner Kersee’s athletic accomplishments are literally second to none. By the conclusion of her career in the heptathlon and long jump events she had amassed six Olympic medals – 3 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze and four World Champion titles over four consecutive Olympic Games. Joyner-Kersee was the first woman in history to earn more than 7,000 points in the heptathlon and today, over 20 years later; she still holds the world heptathlon record of 7,291 points. She continues to hold the Olympic and national records in the long jump and her 1994 performance in the long jump remains the second longest in history.
In addition to heptathlon and long jump, she was a world-class 100m and 200m runner and, after a decorated All-American career in basketball at UCLA, she eventually played professional basketball for a short time.
Joyner-Kersee’s athletic accomplishments have been well documented and remain some of the best ever across all of sports. Less well know are her tireless efforts and remarkable accomplishments off the field as a philanthropist and an advocate for children’s education, health issues (in particular asthma from which she has suffered throughout her life), racial equality, social reform and women’s rights.
In 1988, Joyner-Kersee established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation as the vehicle through which she provides youth, adults and families with the resources to improve their quality of life.
In November 2012, Joyner-Kersee will become an inaugural member of the International Association of Athletics Hall of Fame.