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Florence Griffith Joyner

World's Fastest Woman

On July 16, 1988, while trying out in Indianapolis for the Olympics, Griffith Joyner broke the world record for the fastest time for a woman in the 100-meter run. She did it wearing a purple body suit that had one leg cut off and a pair of colorful bikini bottoms over it. Her time was 10.49 seconds, beating Evelyn Ashford's record by 27-hundredths of a second. Ashford, who had set her record in 1984, went on to finish second after Griffith Joyner in the 100 meters at the 1988 Olympics.


1959 Born in Los Angeles, California
1978 Graduates from Jordan High School in Los Angeles
1983 Graduates from college at UCLA
1984 Left off an Olympic relay team because officials said her fingernails were too long to pass the baton
1987 Marries Al Joyner
1989 Retires from competitive running
1993 Appointed co-chair of President's Council on Physical Fitness.
1998 Dies in her Mission Viejo, California home after a seizure

Some accused Griffith Joyner of illegally taking human growth hormone or steroids to boost her speed, pointing to her rapid muscle development. Griffith Joyner vehemently denied these allegations, saying, according to Jere Longman in the New York Times, "I have never taken any drugs. I don't believe in them. It's a false accusation." She cited weight training and her renewed commitment to her sport after marrying Al Joyner.

In 1989, Darrell Robinson, a former national 400-meter champion, said he had sold a human growth hormone to Griffith Joyner a year earlier. An angry Griffith Joyner, denying the accusation, called Robinson "a compulsive, crazy, lying lunatic."

Although the drug charges were never proven, they continued to haunt Griffith Joyner. Rumors even spread linking her death to drug use. "I think for Florence, the drug issue will always come up, whether she did it or not," Ashford told Longman.

Griffith Joyner went on to win the gold medal for the 100 meters at the 1988 Olympics. She also broke the record for the 200 meters, winning another gold with 21.34. Griffith Joyner added a third gold at that Olympiad, in the 4×100-meter relay, and took home a silver in the 4×400-meter relay.

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