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Flo-Joe, the woman that not even the fastest woman alive Sherika Jackson could beat

“Fastest living woman!” For an incredible time of 21:45 to take gold at the World Athletic Championships, Jamaica’s Sherika Jackson sprinted along the track, arms pumping, kicking knees, soaring commentator. She will still be the second fastest woman in history. The fastest was the great Florence Griffith Joyner, aka Flo Joe, who lived a fast dream life as a runner, a free spirit, an avid fashionista, who famous singer Beyonce once wore a ‘Flo-Joe’ outfit in her honor. She was shaking her head. , and who tragically died of puberty in her sleep after an epileptic seizure, a death she had foreshadowed for some time. They say it is better to die young than to die and Flo who unfortunately became its most famous symbol. But boy could she run? His life is a story.

Controversies followed him. No one could catch him on the track; Tried a lot. Her fans would say that she ran like the wind; Critics said that she was wind-aided. His power was brought to the world; Some whispered it was drug-fuelled. His style stunned the world; Haters make fun of six-inch vibrant nails. Beyonce wore her bodysuit; He said that Flo-Jo’s career was a matter of style over substance. She retired at 87′ to have a baby; He said that she ran away for fear of dope-test. She never failed a single drug test. He was tested 11 times in Seoul alone, nothing illegal was found. She had a foreboding about death, she knew that only death could hold her; And it did.

But his final act was his biggest posthumous run. With his death, and his second marriage, a promise he had wronged to her during his predestination, his daughter Mary began to flow to life. As a 7-year-old, with her father a broken man, it was Mary who called her loved ones to tell her about her mother’s death. Mother’s emptiness would take hold of her, and she went into adolescence, distant and vulnerable to sadness.

It was then that her father prepared Flo-Jo’s letters to her – labeled “not to be opened until age 16” – and joy for life returned to Mary. She became a singer-songwriter, performer, and sang at the 2012 Olympic Track and Field Trials. It is his mother who was a rockstar of track and field.

Incredibly, in 1985, after winning a gold medal at the ’84 Olympics, Flo Joe was working in a bank. Training and the life of the runner were cut short, and her main focus was styling – doing manicures, making clothes. She started out as a bank teller before cashing in on her fortune on the track, but once again fell into the gray banking world. She used to do her friends’ nails and hair at night, charging $45 to $200 for the intricate braiding.

Overweight (her coach would say she was 60 pounds heavier), but regardless of the world, she was living her life when her coach, husband Al Joyner, and her brother-in-law Bob Kersey put her into action. Her husband Al, whom she met in 1980 and married in ’87, was a triple-jump Olympic champion and brother of Olympic heptathlon and long jump legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

The marriage inspired her to get back on track. She used to work out at 4 in the morning. Inspired by Canadian Ben Johnson’s power debut at the 1987 World Championships, Al ramps up his weight training. Reportedly, with a weight of 130 pounds, she could squat 320 pounds. “To run like a man, you need to train like a man,” she says.

But before the epic ongoing in Seoul 88 came the fashionista. “To look good, wear nice clothes. To feel good is to feel good. And it feels good to run faster!” she’d say. Six-inch acrylic nails materialized, hair swept away, face lit up with makeup and her self-designed running kit was a rage—one-legged bodysuits, hooded The speed-skating bodysuit, color-blocked bikini bottoms, elaborate lace-onies, and asymmetric outfit had another name for the flamboyant: Flo Joe.

The fashion sense was innate. She could knit, sew and crochet. Since 7 she was flirting with her own designer clothes. In the late ’70s, early ’80s, before becoming famous, she ran in New York and caught the eye of famed running coach Pat Connolly, who once wrote about that moment in the NYT: ” She was so beautiful, my eyes often followed as she jogged by. I had to control the urge to engage her in conversation, asking if she was a singer. No outrageous nails or hairstyles yet There were no one-legged tights; no layers of makeup; no protruding muscles to power the strong mechanical advances. What I saw was an intensity in his dark eyes, which comes from hunger; the way It turned out that this young woman had a heart.”

And his heart was free and strange.

“If you’re ready to go when the guns are off you can wear whatever you want. You’re going to run fast regardless. Makeup isn’t going to stop you. Dress isn’t going to stop you,” among his famous quotes There is one. In 1988 he began wearing “one-leggers,” which came after accidentally cutting one leg shorter than the other. “I started laughing and he said: ‘I’m wearing it.’ And that’s how it started,” Joyner said. Around her house, she used to stick small motivational notes. The time she wanted to win a race is quoted from the 23rd Psalm of the Bible, and her favorite was “I can because I believe I can.”

There was an uproar over the training before Seoul. So was his love for clothes. She packed over 100 dresses, her husband would say with a laugh. He painted his six-inch nails on the fleet red, blue, gold, white. She set out to walk in the dreams of athletic kids with aspirations, tennis star Serene Williams with aspirations to empower girls, wide-eyed kids and adorable, entertaining adults.

“I spend about 15 minutes on my makeup,” she once told The Boston Globe. “I spend way too much time getting ready for a race.”

on jet fuel

On July 16, 1988, at the trials in Indianapolis ahead of Seoul, the jaws of superstar athletes and coaches would drop in awe. In the 100 metres, she followed Evelyn Ashward’s record of 10.76. Her husband urges her that she can do it because 10.5 was her timing, and she beats him in training. The world stopped when the clock stopped after the race: 10.49, flashed.

“Nobody can run that fast. The heat must be doing something to the electronics,” said ABC announcer Marty Licori. Omega Timing checked the wind-gauge and timing system and found no faults. Still, Many, including her husband, believed it was wind-assisted. Later, the Association of Track and Field Statisticians starred it with “probably strongly wind-assisted, but recognized as a world record”. The next day In the final, she set a record, blazing in 10.61 seconds.

“If you go back and watch the mechanics of his running in ’84 and then in ’88, that’s the difference. That’s the secret. Work hard, sleep right, eat right. And then turn him to God. I said: ‘Honey, go out there and they think you’re on jet fuel,'” Al Joyner told BBC Sport.

In Seoul, she ran the 100 meters in 10.54 (wind assisted), her last five meters with her arms raised up and a bright smile spread across her face. One of the great sports photos of our time.

She broke a nine-year-old world record in the 200m semi-final, in less than two hours, she would break it again in the final, in a shimmering 21.34 seconds. It’s been 34 years, no one has caught him yet.

Death did. In 1998, at the age of 38, she died in her sleep from a rare disease and lesion on her brain that caused seizures, a problem (cavernous angioma) that appeared only after her daughter was born. .

Husband Al dialed 911, crying, “My wife is gone. My wife is gone.” They asked her to do CPR but she didn’t get any pulse. She later remembered that he had spoken to her, “The story shouldn’t end like this. I want to go before you. You want to see Mary grow up…” Then Mary said running into the room, “What happened to Mother?” That’s when paramedics arrived and soon declared him brought dead. In layman’s terms, he had died in his sleep.

The paramedics will hand him their wedding ring and a nail they had broken off. Critics still grumbled about the drugs’ effectiveness. Extended autopsy and toxicology tests performed over two days turned him down: it did not reveal any use of steroids or performance-enhancing drugs in his system. “He took the last drug test. I told him to test everything,” Al would tell Aspen. “And there was nothing, and there never was.” Nothing but a great soul.

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