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Florence Griffith Joyner

Olympic Dreams

After graduating from Jordan High School in Los Angeles in 1978, Griffith Joyner enrolled at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), but dropped out in 1979 to help support her struggling family financially. She also had to drop running as a sport. She took a job as a bank teller, and there she would have remained if not for the efforts of her coach at CSUN, Bob Kersee. Kersee helped her find financial aid so she could return to school. When Kersee took the coaching job at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in 1980, Griffith Joyner went with him. There she continued to build a reputation as an outstanding sprinter. She graduated from UCLA in 1983 with a degree in psychology.

With Kersee still her coach, Griffith Joyner competed in her first Olympics in 1984; Los Angeles hosted the Summer Games. Running in her hometown, she won the silver medal in the 200-meter run. After the 1984 Olympics, Griffith Joyner retired from running, again taking a bank job, and also working as a beautician. But starting in 1987, she began again to train, this time for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

In 1987, Griffith Joyner married Al Joyner, who won the gold for the triple jump in the 1984 Games. Al's sister, Jackie Joyner-Kersee (married to Bob Kersee, who also coached her) was an Olympic medalist, and a world record holder in the heptathlon. When Griffith Joyner dropped Kersee as her coach, citing his controlling tendencies, and replaced him with her husband, it created a rift between the Joyners and the Kersees.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsTrack and FieldFlorence Griffith Joyner Biography - Born To Run, Olympic Dreams, World's Fastest Woman, Chronology, A Life Ended Too Soon