Tribute: Florence Griffith Joyner Flo-Jo (1959 - 1998)

>> December 21, 2011

21 December 1959           :   52 years ago today, Florence Griffith-Joyner (Flo-Jo) the greatest female sprinter of all-time was born. Quick fact, Flo-Jo set the still standing current world records in 100m (10.49s) and 200m (21.34s) which both are widely regarded as the "most impossible world records" ever created in the World of sports. In fact, at the time, the times were faster than MEN's National records of more than half of the countries in the World. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, she won 3 gold medals and one silver.

Highlights

100 Metres
She has produced an astonishing performance of 10.49s (0.0m/s) in the 100m following an exceptionally beautiful run during the U.S Olympic Trials. The commentators said, "10.49 wind aided... wait a minute... the wind was... within the legal limit, ahhh cannot be, no one can run that fast..." She won the Olympic 100m title from the 1988 Games, clocking 10.54w in the final, leaving the nearest rival by 0.30s despite of "shutting down" at half of the race where she started smiling and just run through to the line. Five legal-fastest time;

1)          10.49     Indianapolis     U.S Olympic Trials
2)          10.61     Indianapolis     U.S Olympic Trials
3)          10.62     Seoul               Olympic Games
4)          10.70     Seoul               U.S Olympic Trials
5)          10.88     Seoul               Olympic Games
+ non-legal (wind assisted)
1)          10.54     Seoul               Olympic Games
2)          10.60     Indianapolis     U.S Olympic Trials
3)          10.70     Seoul               Olympic Games

Close behind is USA's Camelita Jeter, 10.64s, 2009.

200 Metres
Before 1988, she won  two 200m silver medals from major events, at the Olympic Games (1984 / 22.04s) and World championships (1987 / 21.96s). In 1988, she smashed her personal record four times, including two WR. The new record first set during the Round 1of Olympic Trials (21.90s), and then improved on the mark to 21.77s in the QF,  before clocking 21.85s in the finals. About 9 weeks later, at the Olympic Games she lowered the PR to 21.76s in the QF, again in SF with a time of 21.56s (WR,OR), and once again in the final with an incredible 21.34s (WR,OR).

Nearest behind is USA's Marion Jones, 21.62, 1998

Relays
Flo-Jo won the 4x100m gold medals in the World championships (1987) and Olympic Games (1988). Most admired was her run in the 4x400m at the 1988 Olympics, which was held after her 100m (four times), 200m (four times) and 4x100m (two times). She was impressively pushed the 400m specialist Olga Bryzgina of Soviet Union (World and Olympic 400m champion) until the line and clocked a split time of 48.1s (video on you tube).

Life and Retirement 
In 1987, she married to Al-Joyner the 1984 Olympic triple jump champion, who is the brother to the world greatest all-round female athlete, Jackie Joyner Kersee, whose husband is Bob Kersee, the coach of Flo-Jo prior 1988, before replaced by Al-Joyner.

In 1989,  at age of (turning) 30 and less than a year after the great show in Seoul, she announced her retirement from athletics as an athlete. She was said to be the coach to her husband in a while.

On September 21, 1998, she was found unresponsive and not breathing by husband, was sent to hospital, and then pronounced dead. It was later specified as unexpected heart attack during sleep. She was 37 years old.

Florence Griffith Tribute - Seoul 1988


Florence Griffith 100m World Records 10.49s WR, Indianapolis,  16 July 1988


Florence Griffith 100m (10.54w- WR, 0R), 1988 Seoul Olympics


Florence Griffith 200m, 1988 Seoul Olympics

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