Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJacqueline "Jackie"•Joyner-Kersee
Used nameJackie•Joyner-Kersee
Born3 March 1962 in East St. Louis, Illinois (USA)
Measurements178 cm / 70 kg
AffiliationsTiger World Class Athletic Club/West Coast Athletic Club/McDonald's Track Club
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 1
Bronze 2
Total 6


In any discussion of the greatest ever female athletes, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is on the list. In fact, Sports Illustrated voted her the greatest female athlete of the 20th century, just ahead of Babe Didrikson. JJK attended UCLA where she played basketball and competed in track & field. She represented the United States at four consecutive Olympics (1984-96) in the long jump and heptathlon, winning six Olympic medals, including three golds, with back-to-back golds in the hep in 1988-92, and a long jump gold in 1988. At the World Championships she was heptathlon champion in 1987 and 1993 and long jump champion in 1987 and 1991. In 1986, at the Goodwill Games, JJK won the heptathlon title, scoring 7,148 points, the first time any woman had scored over 7,000 points. It was the first of four world records Joyner-Kersee would set in the event, as she scored 7,161 points later in 1986 in Houston, and in 1988 set a mark of 7,215 at the Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, and recorded 7,291 to win the 1988 Olympic gold medal, a world record that still stands as of January 2012.

Joyner-Kersee also excelled individually in other events. She set a long jump world record with 7.45 done in Indianapolis in August 1987. In the 100 hurdles, she set two American records, her best being 12.61 set in 1988. She was voted Female Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News in 1986, 1987, and 1994, and only Florence Griffith Joyner’s (her sister-in-law) stunning season kept her from a three-peat in 1988. In the world rankings, JJK was #1 in the heptathlon in 1986-90 and 1992-93, #1 in the long jump in 1987-88 and 1994, and was ranked in the top 10 in the 100 hurdles in 1987-88 and 1994.

Joyner-Kersee married her coach, Bob Kersee. Her brother, Al Joyner, won the 1984 Olympic triple jump gold medal, and her sister-in-law was the great sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner. Since her retirement from competition, JJK has devoted herself to charitable works through both the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation and Athletes for Hope.

Personal Bests: 100H – 12.61 (1988); LJ – 7.49 (1992 [twice]); Hep – 7291 (1988).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1984 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Jackie Joyner
Long Jump, Women (Olympic) 5
Heptathlon, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
1988 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Long Jump, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
Heptathlon, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
1992 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Long Jump, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
Heptathlon, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Long Jump, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
Heptathlon, Women (Olympic) DNF

Olympic family relations

Special Notes