Florence Griffith Joyner

1959 - 1998

Born: December 21, 1959 in Los Angeles, CA

One of the most memorable moments of the 20th century was when Florence Griffith Joyner became an Olympic track and field champion during the 1988 Seoul games. It was then that the phenomenon known as "Flo Jo" emerged. With her flashy one-legged running outfits, long hair, and brightly painted fingernails, she captured four medals and the attention of the world with her speed, grace, and charm.

Athletically, Flo Jo elevated women's track to a higher level as she broke world records in the 100 and 200-meter events. This feat earned her the title "World's Fastest Woman." Perhaps as astonishing was Flo Jo's range of talents outside the track realm. She excelled in the fields of fashion design, acting, writing, sports casting as well as being a wife and mother. One of her most impressive achievements was her appointment as co-chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She was an eloquent spokeswoman who shared her expertise and enthusiasm for fitness with the nation.

Flo Jo's success is especially great when her beginnings are considered. She began her life in the projects of South Central Los Angeles. The values of independence and individualism were instilled in her household from an early age. When she was seven, Florence began running. She was a star athlete by adolescence, as well as a straight-A student. Flo Jo was a true role model. Her excellence in all endeavors inspired fans to achieve their own great heights. The image of Flo Jo, victorious, waving the American flag at the Seoul Olympics stands as a testament to this legend that defined the "American Dream."

Died: September 21, 1998 in Mission Viejo, California