Jackie Joyner-Kersee is considered by many to be the best female track and field athlete of all time, with one prominent sports magazine voting her the greatest female athlete of the 20th century. The American athlete was a double Olympics heptathlon champion and one-time women’s long jump Olympic champion. Her Olympic records in both events, both set in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, still stand to this day.
Joyner-Kersee participated in four Olympic Games, winning her first medal in 1984, a silver in the heptathlon. This was followed by her double-gold output in Seoul, where she obliterated the opposition in the long jump and heptathlon. She retained her heptathlon title in Barcelona for her third gold, but only a managed a bronze in the long jump.
Joyner-Kersee took her Olympics bow in Atlanta in 1996, where she was forced to withdraw from the heptathlon competition due to a hamstring injury. But she managed to join the long jump competition, where she salvaged a bronze medal on her very last jump, literally leaping from sixth place to third with a jump of 7.0 meters. It would be her last Olympics performance, as she failed to qualify for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Today she is part of Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization that helps athletes worldwide get involved in charitable causes.
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