Born in 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois, Jackie Joyner Kersee came from very humble beginnings. To this day, she is still humble and loves to give back to the community despite having been dubbed 'The Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century' by Sports Illustrated.
Jackie's athletic accomplishments are world renowned and are literally second to none. By the conclusion of her career in the heptathlon and long jump events she had amassed 6 Olympic medals and 4 World Champion titles. Jackie 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, Jackie 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.
Less well known, however, are Jackie's 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. Never one to be classified as merely an athlete, Jackie says, "I strive to be a Jackie of all trades."
Jackie Joyner Kersee has received many prestigious awards, including the St. Louis Ambassadors Sportswoman of the Year, Sporting News Athlete of the Year Award (the first woman to receive either of these awards), the Sullivan Award, and consecutively winning the Jesse Owens Memorial Award.
The Power of Caring: The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation
Asthma All-Star: Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Jackie's Gold Medal Faith: Running the Race with Grace & Humility On & Off the Track
A Winning Perspective Gets The Gold