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Transcript of Florence Griffith-Joyner
Contributions to Society
Track and Field Runner
Olympic Gold Medalist
Fastest Woman in the World
4 May 2013
Delores Florence Griffith was born on December 21, 1959.
She grew up in a low-income area of Los Angeles, California.
She liked to play outside, and began running at a very young age.
When she ran races with kids in her neighborhood, she knew right away that she wanted to run for the rest of her life.
At age seven, she joined the Sugar Ray Robinson Foundation, where she played many sports and activities.
She won the Jesse Owens National Youth Games when she was fourteen years old.
As a child, one of her biggest dreams was to be in the Olympics.
"Dee Dee", as her family called her, was the seventh of eleven kids in her family.
They had several pet dogs throughout her childhood.
Her parents divorced while she was young, but still supported and encouraged all of their kids.
She was raised Christian, and her mom took her to church.
Her mother was also very strict. She didn't allow TV on weekdays.
When she visited her dad near the Mojave Desert, she liked to chase jackrabbits. Some consider it her earliest speed training.
Education and Training
Griffith attended Jordan High School, where she was the anchor of the relay team.
Later on, she won a scholarship to UCLA and quickly earned a reputation there as a track star.
At one point, she had to drop out of college to help out financially at home. However, her coach, Bob Kersee, was able to get her back in with the help of counselors.
She set the UCLA championship records for the 200 meter and 400 meter races.
In 1983, she graduated college with a degree in psychology and began pursuing her Olympic dream.
Flo Jo made her Olympic debut in 1984 at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. She became more widely known after her success in track events.
In 1987, she married Al Joyner (Olympic gold medalist in Triple Jump and brother of Jackie Joyner-Kersee)
People began to call her "Flo Jo" at this point.
She re-entered racing with her husband as her new coach.
Her hard work paid off in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
In 1990, the Joyner's daughter Mary Ruth was born.
Flo Jo stopped running as she focused on being a mother and exploring her other interests, such as acting, writing, and designing.
She never was able to try out the rest of her plans. Florence Griffith-Joyner died abruptly of an epileptic seizure on September 21, 1998.
1984 Olympics: Los Angeles, California
Won silver medal in 200 meter dash
1988 Olympics: Seoul, South Korea
Won gold medal in 100 meter dash
[world record time of 10.49 seconds]
Won Gold medal in 200 meter dash
[world record time of 21.34 seconds]
Co-won gold medal in 4x100 meter relay
Co-won silver medal in 4x400 meter relay
She was named Female Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press and Athlete of the Year by Track and Field Magazine.
Flo Jo won the Sullivan Award for outstanding amateur athlete.
She was also voted for the Jesse Owens award.
In 1995 she was inducted to the U. S. Track and Field Hall of Fame.
In 1988 Griffith-Joyner was voted for the U.S. Olympic Committee.
In 1989 she became the spokeswoman for:
The American Cancer Society
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Project Eco School
She was appointed co-chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1993.
The Joyners started the Florence Griffith-Joyner Foundation for Disadvantaged Youth in 1994.
Personal Connections and Reflections
"Florence Joyner." 2013. The Biography Channel website. Apr 28 2013, 04:33
Glendy, Craig. Guinness World Records 2013: das Original Buch der Rekorde = Guinness Buch der Rekorde. Hamburg: Guiness Verlag, 2012. Print.
"Griffith Joyner, [Delorez] Florence (FloJo; Nee Griffith)." Griffith Joyner, [Delorez] Florence Biography. S9.com, 25 July 2006. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.
Hatch, Robert, and William Hatch. The hero project: 2 teens, 1 notebook, 13 extraordinary interviews. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.
"Joyner, Florence Griffith ." America the Beautiful. Grolier Online, 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.
Keenan, Sheila. Scholastic encyclopedia of women in the United States. New York: Scholastic Reference, 1996. Print.
I knew I wanted to choose a track athlete for my biography. My personal connection to Flo Jo is that I am a runner and I'm doing track and cross-country next year. One reason decided on Flo Jo was because I think being the fastest woman in the world is a huge accomplishment. She also dedicated her time to helping people.
I'm glad that I chose to write my report on Florence Griffith-Joyner and she was interesting to learn about. I think she was an amazing athlete and person because she tried her hardest in whatever she did.
Flo Jo had an unstoppable determination to succeed, whether it was in academics or on the track.
She pushed herself fiercely, even through pain.
She was never afraid to be herself.
Flo Jo was kind, caring, and compassionate. She devoted much of her time to helping others.
She didn't flaunt her accomplishments or her gold medals. In fact, she could go a week without even thinking about them.
She wasn't sour about her poor childhood, and saw it as an opportunity to grow.
"The ladder of success
is never crowded at the top."