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We Are Stars (Jackie Joyner-Kersee) BHM Profile February 10, 2014

Posted by msbobbieg in Uncategorized.



Jackie Joyner-Kersee


By: Bobbie Jones


jackie 9In later years many would come to know her as the sister-in-law to one of the most glamorous track and field stars of our times (Flo Jo).  But, before Jackie had fame of her own or before she had any notoriety at all she had to battle the brutal streets of East St. Louis, Illinois.  To Jackie Joyner-Kersee survival was not a question it was a must.  Did she beat those mean streets of East St. Louis?  You bet she did and went on to live out her dreams and she even managed to get a few Olympic gold medals in the process.

Jacqueline Joyner was born March 3, 1962 and named after that famous first ladyjackie 8 – you know her as Mrs. Jackie Kennedy.  But the young Jackie Joyner was going places however, before she could escape those hellish streets of East St. Louis she would have to run for dear life and she did.

Jackie was born to young parents, her mother just 16 when she got married to the even younger 15-year-old Alford Joyner and the two of them would have never imagined they were bringing forth an Olympic star but that is what their young love produced.

Before Jackie was even 12 years of age she witness unspeakable horrors that no child should be privy to.  At age 11 she saw a man gunned down right in front of her childhood home.  Fortunately WS JK 2Jackie was determined to leave those horrors behind – in fact she left them in the dust.  Jackie’s young but strict parents kept Jackie out of trouble and made sure she did not grow up too fast and to do this they had to keep her mind off the boys and on the books.  Along with the books Jackie discovered she loved sports and by the age of 13 she had already long jumped almost 17 feet.

Jackie 5Keeping Jackie on track had paid off for by the time she graduated she was in the top 10 percent of her class and was on her way to UCLA to play basketball.  Unfortunately, tragedy always seems to strike when one is making positive strides.  It was a dark and cold January in 1981 when Jackie had to leave college and head back home for her mother had contracted a rare form of meningitis.  Although her mom was brain-dead and in a coma it was hard for the family to make that dreaded decision to remove her from life support.

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After her mom’s death she returned to school where she received the love, care, and support of her future Husband (Bob Kersee) the Assistant Track Coach at UCLA.  She may have competed in the 1984 OlympicsJackie 6 but 1988 was her year.  Fresh off 9

consecutive wins in the heptathlon she was on fire and the gold medal favorite.  Seoul was Jackie’s chance to shine and she did – not only did she win the gold she set an Olympic record in the long jump.

Jackie had her haters… but all the greats do.  Some accused her of taking performance enhancing drugs but all her test were clean.  No one can know for sure if all the stress of that period got to her but in 92′ in Barcelona she finished 3rd and in 96′ – Atlanta also saw her take home the bronze.

Jackie 7Jackie Joyner-Kersee hung up her track and field shoes in the summer of 1998 but no matter what her detractors said, and no matter how life’s hardships tried to block her from success she went on to run faster and jump longer than anyone who competed against her and secured her spot in Olympic history.    jackie 10


Photos provided by:    Google Images on the Web

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Copyright © Ms. Bobbie Jones – February 10, 2014

All Rights Reserved



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