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Jackie Joyner-Kersee facts for kids

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Jackie Joyner-Kersee Eugene 2014.jpg
Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 2014
Personal information
Nationality American
Born March 3, 1962 (1962-03-03) (age 59)
East St. Louis, Illinois, U.S.
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 66 kg (146 lb)
Country United States
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Long jump, heptathlon
Club Tiger World Class Athletic Club
West Coast Athletic Club
McDonald's Track Club

Jacqueline "Jackie" Joyner-Kersee (born March 3, 1962) is an American retired track and field athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of All-Time. She is on the Board of Directors for USA Track & Field (USATF), the national governing body of the sport.

Joyner-Kersee is an active philanthropist in children's education, racial equality and women's rights. She is a founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, which encourages young people in East St. Louis to pursue athletics and academics. She partnered with Comcast to create the Internet Essentials program in 2011, which costs $9.95/month for low-income Americans and offers low-cost laptops and 40 hours/month of high-speed internet service. Since its inception, it has provided internet access to 4 million Americans.

Joyner-Kersee is one of the most famous athletes to have overcome severe asthma.

Early life

UCLA Bruins script logo
UCLA Bruins logo

Jacqueline Joyner was born March 3, 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois, and was named after Jackie Kennedy. As a high school athlete at East St. Louis Lincoln Senior High School, she qualified for the finals in the long jump at the 1979 Olympic Trials.

Joyner-Kersee attended college at the University of California at Los Angeles, where she starred in both track & field and in women's basketball from 1980-1985. She was a starter in her forward position for each of her first three seasons (1980–81, 81-82, and 82-83) as well as in her senior (fifth) year, 1984-1985.

She scored 1,167 points during her collegiate career, which places her 19th all time for the Bruins games. The Bruins advanced to the West Regional semi-finals of the 1985 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament.

She was honored on February 21, 1998 as one of the 15 greatest players in UCLA women's basketball. In April 2001, Joyner-Kersee was voted the "Top Woman Collegiate Athlete of the Past 25 Years." The vote was conducted among the 976 NCAA member schools.

Personal life

Jackie's brother is the Olympic champion triple jumper Al Joyner, who was married to another Olympic track champion, the late Florence Griffith Joyner. Jackie married her track coach, Bob Kersee, in 1986.

In 1988, Joyner-Kersee established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, which provides youth, adults, and families with athletic lessons and the resources to improve their quality of life with special attention directed to East St. Louis, Illinois.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee (2) (cropped)
Gold Medal Olympian Jacki Joyner-Kersey

Awards and honors

  • 1986 James E. Sullivan Award
  • 1986 Jesse Owens Award
  • 1987 Jesse Owens Award
  • 1997 Jack Kelly Fair Play Award
  • 2000 St. Louis Walk of Fame inductee
  • 2005 Inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, awarded the Order of Lincoln in Sports
  • 2010 NCAA Silver Anniversary Awards honoree
  • 2011 Dick Enberg Award

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