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Florence Griffith "Flo-Jo" Joyner
Birth: Dec. 21, 1959
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Death: Sep. 21, 1998
Mission Viejo
Orange County
California, USA

American Olympic Track and Field Athlete. She is best remembered as winning three gold medals in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics in the women's 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4x100 meters relay events. Considered by many to be the "fastest woman of all time," based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 meters and 200 meters still stand and have yet to be seriously challenged. She was born Florence Delorez Griffin and competed on the track team at Jordan High School in Los Angeles, California. She attended California State University at Northridge, California, where she was on the track team. She was forced to drop out in order to support her family, and went to work as a bank teller. Her track coach, Bob Kersee (future husband of Olympic track star Jackie Joyner) was able to find financial aid for her and she returned to college. She qualified for the 100 meter final at the trials for the 1980 Summer Olympics which were to be held in Moscow, USSR, but the US Government had already decided to boycott those Olympic Games due to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Kersee then became the head coach of the track team at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), which prompted her to also transfer there, and in 1982 she graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. In 1984 she competed in the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California and won the silver medal in the women's 200 meters event. The following year, she won the 100 meter International Association of Athletics Federations Grand Prix Final. In 1987 she married Al Joyner, the 1984 Olympic men's triple jump gold medal winner. At the 1987 World Championship in Rome, Italy, she won the gold medal in the women's 4x100 relay and the silver medal in the 200 meters events. In 1988, in the first race of the quarterfinals of the US Olympic Trials, she sprinted the 100 meter event in 10.49 seconds, the world record. She became known by the nickname "Flo-Jo" and was the big favorite for the titles in the sprint events at the 1988 Summer Olympics. In the 100-meter final, she ran a wind-assisted 10.54, beating her nearest rival by 0.30 seconds. 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. She also ran with the 4x100 meter relay and the 4x400 meter relay teams, that won first place in the 100 meter relay and second place in the 400 meter relay events, with the second fastest in history. Rumors of steroid drug use surfaced after the 1988 Summer Olympics but she repeatedly tested during the competition and always passed. In 1988 she won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete (male or female) in the US and retired from competition. In 1996 she tried a comeback to competitive athletics, only this time to concentrate on the 400 meter run, but tendonitis in her right leg ended her hopes of becoming a triple-world-record holder. Since 1997, the International Athletics Annual of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians has listed her 1988 US Olympic qualifying performance as "probably strongly wind assisted, but recognized as a world record." Besides this one race, her fastest wind-legal time in this sprint was 10.61 seconds, which would also be the unbroken world record. She died at home in her sleep from suffocation due to a severe epileptic seizure at the age of 38. Her home town of Mission Viejo, California dedicated a park at the entrance of her neighborhood in her honor. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 

Cause of death: Heart seizure
El Toro Memorial Park
Lake Forest
Orange County
California, USA
Plot: Los Alisos, 34/4/4, right along the perimeter of the cemetery
GPS (lat/lon): 33.64162, -117.68207
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Oct 18, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 6706
Florence Griffith Flo-Jo Joyner
Added by: Anonymous
Florence Griffith Flo-Jo Joyner
Added by: Find A Grave
Florence Griffith Flo-Jo Joyner
Added by: Alan Lopez
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