• U.S.

Florence Griffith Joyner: Final Frames Of the Olympic Games

2 minute read
Lee Griggs, Kumiko Makihara and Ellie Mcgrath/Seoul

No doubt about it. Florence Griffith Joyner is the First Lady of track and field. By winning three gold medals and one silver, Flo-Jo surpassed the 28- year-old record of Wilma Rudolph and nearly equaled the four golds of Holland’s Fanny Blankers-Koen 40 years ago. The sex symbol of sprinting made her most dramatic strides into the record books with a stunning 200-meter race. In her first heat, she set a new Olympic record. Next day, in the semi- final, she set a new world record of 21.56; less than two hours later, she obliterated it in the final with a time of 21.34 seconds. When she saw her time, Florence kneeled on the track in ecstasy. Then her husband and coach Al Joyner ran onto the field, took her in his arms and joyfully twirled her around. “Getting down in the starting blocks and hearing the cheers gave me a lot of energy,” she said later. “I gave it all I had going home.” But Flo- Jo’s feats were not over. She ran the third leg of the women’s 4 X 100 relay, handing off to anchor Evelyn Ashford, who won the race for the U.S. Finally, at a distance twice as long as any she had trained for, Florence anchored the 4 X 400 relay team, winning a little silver to mix with her gold.

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