Florence Delorez Griffith-Joyner (#Flo-Jo) was the fastest woman of all time. She was an American track and field athlete. She set the world record back in 1988 for the 100m and 200 m. Griffith was born in Los Angeles, California and was raised in Jordan Downs public housing complex. She ran track at Jordan High School in Los Angeles. As a senior in 1978, she finished sixth at the CIF California State meet. She was on a track teen that was coached by Joyner-Kersee’s future husband.
However, Griffith had to drop out in order to help her family. Kersee was then able to find financial aid for Griffith and she returned to college. Brown, Bolden, and Griffith qualified for the 100-meter final at the trials for the 1980 Summer Olympics (Brown winning, Griffith last in the final). Griffith also ran the 200 meters, narrowly finishing fourth, a foot out of a qualifying position. However, the U.S. Government had already decided to boycott those Olympic Games.
Griffith graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She finished fourth in the 200 meter sprint at the first World Championship in Athletics in 1983. The next year she gained much more attention, though mostly because of her extremely long and colorful fingernails, rather than the silver medal that she won in the 1984 Summer Olympics. In 1985, she won the 100-meter IAAF Grand Prix Final with the time of 11.00 seconds. After the 1984 Olympic Games, she spent less time running, and she married the Olympic triple jump champion of 1984, Al Joyner, in 1987.
“Flo-Jo”, Griffith Joyner 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 Evelyn Ashford 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 final by 0.38 seconds with her time of 21.34 seconds. Griffith Joyner was the winner of the James E. Sullivan Award of 1988 as the top amateur athlete (male or female) in the United States.” (more)
She retired from competition shortly after that. Above all things Griffith make a brief appearance in the soap opera, Santa Barbara in 1992, as “Terry Holloway,” a photographer. Although rumors circulated that Griffith was using drugs, she was tested and nothing was ever found. Griffith Joyner died in her sleep at home at the age of 38. The sheriff-coroner’s report said the cause of death was suffocation during an epileptic seizure. It was also discovered that she also had a congenital brain abnormality that made her have seizures. Still today, no one has been able to beat Griffith Joyner’s amazing track record.