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FunTimes Magazine

Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner was born on December 21 1959. She was born in a poor neighborhood in Los Angeles, but rarely recalls having a difficult childhood. She started running at the age of 7, first just raising her brothers and sisters in the backyard. When she was 14 years old she won the Jessie Owens Nations Youth Games.

Flo Jo attended Jordan High School and was the anchor on her school's relay team. After high school she attended California State University at Northridge but had to drop out shortly after enrolling to support her family. Bob Kersee took notice of her working and helped her enroll back in school. She attended UCLA and ran the 400m race. Her consistent unbelievable performance in the race caught the attention of people all around the country and she quickly became a star.

Flo Jo was ready to compete in the 1980 Olympics but could not due to the U.S. boycott of that year's Olympics in Moscow. By time the 1984 LA Summer Olympics came around she was more than ready. That year she brought home the silver medal for the 200 meter run.

A few years later she married Al Joyner, another gold medal Olympian. He coached her for some time, but eventually Kersee was back by her side to help her prepare for the 1988 Olympics. That year in Seoul, South Korea, Flo Jo brought home three gold medals for the 4-by-100 meter relay, the 100 meter run and the and 200-meter. She also brought home a silver medal in the 4-by-400 meter relay. She officially became the fastest woman that year by running the 100 meter dash in just 10.49 second. 

In 1990 The Joyners welcomed a lovely baby girl, Mary Ruth Joyner. Flo Jo kept busy becoming a mother. She never went back to running but she did write a children's book and designed the uniforms for the Indiana Pacers NBA team. She was also on the President's Council for physical fitness and started her own foundation to help children in need.   

Flo Jo didn’t impress people with her track abilities; she was also very beautiful and glamorous. Even during a race she had a flawless face, big hair and 6 inch colorful nails. She also designed and made all of her stylish and trendsetting uniforms.  In 1988 she became the world’s fastest woman ever and for 30 years no one has been able to beat her or come close to setting records. She passed away in her sleep at the age of 38 in her home in 1988.