First Pentathlon Win
When she was 14, she won the first of four consecutive national junior pentathlon championships. During those years, she also played basketball and volleyball and was listed on the honor roll for her high grades. In 1980, Joyner-Kersee accepted a scholarship to the University of California in Los Angeles, where her main sport was basketball. During her freshman year, her mother became ill with meningitis, and died. Joyner-Kersee decided to devote herself even more wholeheartedly to athletics because of her mother's desire for her to succeed. After her mother's funeral, she returned to college with a new resolve.
She soon caught the eye of track coach Bob Kersee, who convinced her that multi-event track should be her sport. He was so convinced that she had hidden talent in this event that he told the university authorities that if they did not allow her to switch from basketball to the heptathlon, he would quit his job. They agreed. Joyner-Kersee was already a good long-jumper and 200-meter runner, so she learned to run the 100-meter hurdles and the 800 meters, do the high jump, throw the javelin, and toss the shot put. These seven events are combined in the heptathlon; an athlete's performance in each event is scored, and the athlete with the highest point total for all the events is the winner. In 1982, Joyner-Kersee qualified for the world championships, but she pulled a ham-string and did not compete in the event.
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee - Chronology
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee - An Impoverished Beginning
- Other Free Encyclopedias
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