Florence Griffith Joyner

  • Born: December 21, 1959
  • Died: September 21, 1998
  • Location: Lake Forest, California


Florence Griffith Joyner near her California home, 1996

Olympic gold medalist in the track 100 and 200 meter events

Florence Griffith-Joyner (born Delorez Florence Griffith), also known as Flo-Jo was an American track and field athlete. She holds the world records in the 100 m and 200 m races. She was the wife of track star Al Joyner and the sister-in-law of Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Joyner died at they young age of 38 as a result of a brain abnormality discovered during the autopsy that made her subject to seizures. It was a congenital defect, having developed before birth. In 1990 she had, according to a family attorney, suffered a grand mal seizure and had been treated for seizures in 1990, 1993 and 1994. The direct cause of death was that she had suffocated in her pillow during a severe epileptic seizure.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in the Jordan Downs public housing complex, Griffith Joyner began racing when she was seven years old, but was forced to give up sport at nineteen in order to help support her family. Sprint coach Bob Kersee later encouraged her resume running and enroll at U.C.L.A.

At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Griffith won a silver medal at 200m, although her long (15cm) and wildly painted fingernails earned her more attention from the press than her running.

On July 16,1988 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Griffith Joyner achieved a stunning breakthrough when she ran the 100m in 10.49 seconds, obliterating Evelyn Ashford's record of 10.79. Her time was faster than the men's records in a wide range of countries, including Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Turkey.

At the 1998 Seoul Olympics, Griffith Joyner twice broke the Olympic record and then won the final easily in a wind-aided 10.54. Four days later, in the semifinals, she broke the 9-year-old world record for 200m and then, 100 minutes later, she set another world record in the final with a time of 21.34 seconds. Griffith Joyner's records for 100m and 200m have yet to be broken. At the Seoul Games, she ran in both relays, winning a third gold medal in the 4x100m and a silver in the 4x400m.

Joyner was the 1988 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. She retired from competitive sports shortly afterwards. Among the things she did away from the track was design the basketball uniforms for the Indiana Pacers.

Condolence & Memory Journal

j'ai connu florence grâce a internet plus precisement ce 18/11/2020 seulement je viens d’Afrique plus précisément du GABON et je suis tombée sur elle par le site pinter-est je suis stupéfaite de sa carrière .et vraiment dommage qu'elle nous ais laisser trop tôt.merci

Posted by gaella nze - libreville, FL - student   November 18, 2020

wow this is sad i was a baby when this happen and i'm just knowing this

Posted by kennedy troupe - usa, GA - Significant Other   October 26, 2020

I just watched you 1988 Olympics performance and it inspired my spirit. You were and still is an inspiration to the world. Rest easy with the Champions.

Posted by Broderick Maxwell - Acquaintance   September 29, 2020



Posted by Valenda Newell - Indianapolis, IN - Friend   July 13, 2016


Wow! It's so amazing to see how people, after all these years, still remember the power, grace, and poise you displayed, on and off the field. I, too, speak of you often to my children, telling them how I'd be glued in front of the television during the Olympics just to see my favorite track and field star do her thing. The Olympics haven't been the same without you! You have been that glimmer of hope for all that have come after you. In my Public Speaking class, I chose you as my "person of interest." You will ALWAYS be our candle in the wind.

Posted by Tangie Jones - Milwaukee, WI - friend   February 03, 2014


You were are will always be my hero. You gave me the love of track and field. Watching you at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 I was amazed by your power your beauty your grace. I can not watch a video of you without crying because I will never have the opportunity to meet my hero. No women ever will break your records you will live forever. Mary is a credit to you. All I have left to say is Mrs Joyner I truly love you and R.I.P beautiful lady

Posted by Michael Bennett - London England - Fan   June 24, 2013

i love you dede i am fast like you nobody can be me but you i want to grow up tp be just like you

Posted by zaniya moody - hampton, VA - friand   February 25, 2013

I hold much respect and admiration for you because of your accomplishments and because you displayed your beauty with such grace. I recently saw your daughter on AGT and I cried as I saw how beautiful and humble she was. Al was right there supporting her. I just watched an episode of 227 that you guest starred on and I wanted to acknowledge what a great loss I feel. You are truly missed.

Posted by C. Jones - WC,, PA - Fan   October 19, 2012


Dear Flo Jo,
I was watching the 2012 olympics and thought of you! The Fastest Women in the World. i was talking to my daughter about you, even showed her some video. I miss you so much!!!

Posted by shlanda - Fan   August 12, 2012


you will always be in everyone's heart. watching 2012 runners made me think of you. rest in peace.

Posted by Ellen - none   August 08, 2012

Flo Jo ran with such grace and beauty, she sent chills up and down my body.I will always be one of your biggest fans. I will always remember and will always miss you. You touch heart in 1988 And touch it again when you passed. Rest in peace beautiful woman.

Posted by Roger Wilkes - Jackson, TN - Big Fan   July 28, 2012

You are still a champion. Miss you.

Posted by Debbie Catts - Shreveport, LA - Friend   July 23, 2012


I remember that sad day in sept 1998. I was in home room, during high school. I had just turned on the television and there it was. I remember a class mate capturing a photo of me just then. I still have the photo, and i will post it as soon as i can locate it. Flo joe inspired me to run better while on my high school track team. Thank you flo jo...i really miss you...

Posted by gracie - Fan and admirer   March 09, 2011

Flow Jo,

An Immortal Legion in the track.
May Rest In Piece.

Posted by sanjewa perera    May 27, 2008

The sun shines upon a precious grave. You will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace.

Posted by Ouyanna Oliver    May 27, 2008

omg i love her so much she is my idol i run 4 her

Posted by henrietta anyanwu    May 27, 2008

Ms. Joyner you were an great African American and still is. Rest in peace you will always be remmebered by me.

Posted by Mallika    May 27, 2008

Flo Jo,

You were the best. You were admired by everyone. Rest well.

Posted by Fran Foster - Durham, NC   September 19, 2007

Default Album

Florence Griffith Joyner near her California home, 1996
Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Olympics
Florence Griffith Joyner at the Seoul Olympics, 1998
Florence Griffith Joyner and Tom McMillan in Washington, D.C., 1993
Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Olympic semifinals
Pallbearers at Florence Griffith Joyner's 1998 funeral

Default Album

A portrait of Florence Griffith Joyner at her 1998 funeral
Al Joyner at the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, 1999
Alice Brown, Sheila Echols, Florence Griffith Joyner, and Evelyn Ashford after winning gold in the 1998 Olympic 4x100 relay
4x100 relay runners Evelyn Ashford and Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1998 Olympics in Seoul
Florence Griffith Joyner celebrates a win at the 1998 Seoul Olympic Games
Gail Devers at Florence Griffith Joyner's 1998 funeral