“The fastest woman alive!” The commentator was booming just as Jamaica’s Sherica Jackson fogged along the track, pumping her arms, kicking her knees, to a staggering 21:45 time to win gold at the World Championships in Athletics. She will still be the second fastest woman in history. The fastest was Florence Griffith Joyner, aka Flow Joe, who lived a dreamy, fast life as a runner, free spirit, spirited fashion designer whom the famous singer Beyoncé revered, once dressed as ‘Flo Joe’, who died tragically young, in her sleep after An epileptic seizure, a death she had had premonitions for a while. They say it’s better to die young than fade away, and unfortunately Flo Joe has become the most famous avatar. But boy can you run. Her life is an unforgettable story.
—World Athletics (WorldAthletics) July 22 2022
Disagreements overtook her. No one could catch her on the track. Tried a lot of it. Her fans were saying that she ran like the wind; Critics said it was with the help of wind. Its strength was celebrated all over the world. Some whispered that he was full of drugs. Her style made the world go gaga. Haters made fun of their six-inch nails. Beyoncé wore a body suit. They said Flo Gu’s career was more a case of style than substance. She retired at 87′ to have a baby; They said she ran away out of fear of doping tests. You have never failed a single drug test. It was tested 11 times in Seoul alone, and nothing illegal was found. She had premonitions about death, and she knew that only death could catch her; And I did.
But her last act was her greatest run after her death. With her death, and his second marriage, the promise she had snatched from him during her warnings, her daughter Mary begins to drift through life. When she was 7 years old, with her father a broken man, it was Mary who called near and dear ones to tell them about her mother’s death. A mother’s emptiness was catching up to her, and she drifted into her teenage years, far away and held by the blues.
Then her father sent Flo Joe letters to her – titled “Don’t Open Until You’re 16” – and the joy of life returned to Mary. She became a singer-songwriter, performer, and sang in the Olympic track and field in 2012. But her mother, who was a rock star in track and field.
Incredibly, in 1985, after winning gold at the 84th Olympics, Flo Joe was working in a bank. The runner’s life and training subsided, and her main bustle was styling – manicure, clothing design. She had started her career as a bank teller before making her fortune in the tracks, but had slipped back into the gray world of banking. She does her friends’ nails and hair at night, and charges $45 to $200 for intricate braiding.
Overweight (her coach will say she was 60 pounds heavier), but she was unburdened by the world, she was living her life when her coaches, husband Al Joyner and brother Bob Kersey pushed her into action. Her husband Al, whom she met in 1980 and married in 87, was an Olympic triple jump champion and brother to Olympic heptathlon and long jump legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Marriage prompted her to return to the tracks. She was working at 4 in the morning. Influenced by Canadian Ben Johnson’s start to power at the 1987 World Championships, Al ramped up her weight training. Reportedly, she weighed 130 pounds, and she could squat 320 pounds. She used to say, “To run like a man, you have to train like a man.”
But before the epic race began at Seoul 88, the fashion designer came. Good dress to look good. It looks good to feel good. And I feel good about running fast! Six-inch acrylic nails, flowing hair, and a sparkling face were embodied in makeup and the self-styled running kits were all the rage—from one-legged bodysuits, a hooded speed skating jumpsuit, plump bikini bottoms, detailed lace fabrics, and asymmetrical outfits. Flamboyance was a second name: Flo Jo.
The sense of fashion was innate. She can knit, sew and crochet. From 7, she was flirting with her own clothes. Around the late ’70s, early ’80s, before she became famous, she was running in New York and caught the attention of famous running coach Pat Connolly who once wrote about that moment in the New York Times: “She was so beautiful, my eyes often followed her as she jogged. It was I have to control the urge to engage in conversation, to ask if she’s a singer. There were no hideous nails or haircuts yet; no tights. No layers of makeup no bulging muscles to run strong mechanical steps. What I saw was the intensity in her dark eyes. , the kind that comes from hunger; the kind that revealed that this young woman had a heart.”
And her heart was free and strange.
“You can wear anything you want if you’re ready to go when the guns go off. You’ll run fast regardless. Makeup won’t stop you. Outfit won’t stop you,” one of her famous quotes. In 1988 she began wearing what she called “one leg”, which happened after she accidentally cut one of her legs shorter than the other. I started laughing and said: I’m wearing this. “That’s how it started,” Joyner said. All around her house, she’d plaster little motivational notes. The timing when she wanted to win a race quotes from Psalm XXIII of the Bible, the most favorite of which was “I can because I think I can.”
Training raged before Seol. So did her love for clothes. She packed more than 100 clothes, her husband was laughing. She painted her six-inch nails on her nails in red, blue, gold, and white. She was ready to walk the dreams of athletic kids with ambition, girls willing to be empowered to be like tennis star Serene Williams, wide-eyed kids, and fun loving adults.
“I spend about 15 minutes doing my makeup,” she once told The Boston Globe. “I spend a lot more time preparing for the race.”
We have jet fuel
On July 16, 1988, at the trials held in Indianapolis before Seoul, the jaws of the star athletes and coaches would have been amazed. In the 100 metres, she was after Evelyn Ashward’s record of 10.76. Her husband was constantly urging her to do it because 10.5 was his timing, and she was beating him up in training. When the clock stopped after running, the world stopped in awe: 10.49, shone.
“No one can run that fast. Heat has to do something to the electronics,” said ABC anchor Marty Licouri. Omega Timing checked the wind gauge and timing system and found no malfunctions. However, many, including her husband, believe it was wind-assisted. Later, the Association of Track and Field Statisticians starred her “maybe powered by wind, but recognized as a world record.” The next day, in the final, she still set the record, leading in 10.61 seconds.
“If you go back and look at her running mechanics movie in 1984 and then look back at 1988, that’s the difference. That’s the secret. Work hard, sleep right, eat right. And then I got a special gift from God, Al Joyner told BBC Sport. “I said, ‘Honey, go in there and make them think you’re using jet fuel.'”
In Seoul, she ran the 100m in 10.54 (helped by the wind), in her last five meters her arms were fluttering high and a glowing smile appeared on her face. One of the greatest sports images of our time.
In the 200-meter semi-final she broke the nine-year-old’s world record before, in under two hours she would have broken the record again in the final, sparkling in 21.34 seconds. It’s been 34 years, and no one’s catching up yet.
do death. In 1998, at age 38, a rare disease and a lesion in her brain that caused seizures, a problem (cavernous hemangioma) that only emerged after her daughter was born, Flo Joe died in her sleep.
Husband Al called 911, crying, “My wife is gone. My wife is gone.” They asked him to perform CPR, but he couldn’t find a pulse. Later he would remind her, “That’s not how the story is supposed to end. I’m supposed to go before you. You have to watch Mary grow up…” Only then will Mary run into the room, ‘What’s wrong with Mom?’ Paramedics arrived at that time, and they quickly pronounced her dead. From a normal person’s perspective, she had suffocated in her sleep.
Paramedics handed him their wedding ring and a finger nail that they broke. Critics still grumble about the drug’s effects. The extended two-day necropsy and toxicology tests ignored her: they revealed no use of steroids or performance-enhancing drugs in her system. “I did the final drug test. I told them to test everything,” he told Al Aspen. “And there was nothing, and there never was.” Nothing but a great soul.
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