Jackie Joyner-Kersee has built an illustrious athletic career in the world of track and field and has been described by sports commentators as "the greatest athlete in the world." She's a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the heptathlon, a two-day event for women which requires proficiency in eight events: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin, and 800-meter run. Jackie has not lost a completed heptathlon since the 1984 Olympics (when the women's heptathlon replaced the five-event pentathlon) where she brought home the silver medal. She was forced to drop out of the 1996 Olympics because of a hamstring injury.
She also currently owns the top five marks on the All Time List in the U.S. women's long jump competition, and has won Olympic gold in this sport as well. Jackie currently holds the World Record in the heptathlon (7,291 pts.), the American records in both the long jump indoor (23'-1 1/4") and outdoor (24'-5 1/2"), and the American Record in the 60 meter hurdles indoor.
During her career, Jackie Joyner-Kersee has set more than 18 records in various events and won over 24 recognition awards including the Sullivan Award, the most prestigious amateur athletic award in the sports world. She was the first woman ever selected as "The Sporting News" Athlete of the Year — and was the first athlete to win the Jessie Owens Memorial Award from the Athletics Congress two years in a row. Joyner-Kersee has also won the Amateur Athlete of the Year Award from the Women's Sports Foundation, the Glamour Woman of the Year Award, the Humanitarian of the Year Award presented by the Volunteers of America, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievement, presented by the Congress of Racial Equality.