This Day in Black History: Sept. 21, 1998

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Florence Griffith Joyner of the USA walks with the American Flag as she celebrates setting a new Olympic record to win the gold medal in the Women's 100 meters dash final during the 1988 Summer Olympic Games on September 28, 1988 in Seoul, Korea.  (Photo by Tony Duffy/Getty Images)

This Day in Black History: Sept. 21, 1998

Florence Griffith Joyner, Olympic track star, died on Sept. 21, 1998.

Published September 21, 2014

(Photo: Tony Duffy/Getty Images)

She was widely known as “Flo-Jo” and she was considered the “fastest woman of all time.” Florence Griffith Joyner was a track and field star who set world records in 1988 for the 100-meter and 200-meter competition, records that still stand.

Because of her athletic skill, her death in on Sept. 21, 1998, at the age of 38, shocked the nation. She died in her sleep as the result of an epileptic seizure.
Griffith was born in Los Angeles and raised in the Jordan Downs public housing complex. During the late 1980s, she became a popular figure in international track and field because of her record-setting performances and flashy personal style. She was the wife of the triple jumper Al Joyner and sister-in-law of long jumper Jackie Joyner Kersee.

In the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, she won the 100-meter final. In the 200-meter semifinal, she set the world record of 21.56 seconds and then she broke this record again in winning in the finals by 0.40 seconds with her time of 21.34 seconds.

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Written by Jonathan P. Hicks


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