Al Joyner - U.S.A. - Triple Jump Gold medal at 1984 Olympic Games.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 04 August 1984

Click on image to enlarge

      Tuesday, 19 January 1960
      East St.Louis, Illinois
  • U.S.A.
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Al JOYNER - U.S.A. - Triple Jump Gold medal at 1984 Olympic Games.

Al Joyner's own illustrious athletic career was somewhat overshadowed by his connections with two of the greatest female athletes in history, his sister, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and his wife, Florence Griffith-Joyner. In addition, during the years in which Al competed, the USA enjoyed a great depth in its triple-jumping ranks, which made it extremely difficult to qualify to represent the USA in major international competitions.

In 1983, Joyner qualified third in the USA trials for the World Championships in Helsinki, where, on 8 August, he finished 8th with a jump of 16.76m. The following year, Al finished second behind Mike Conley at the USA final Olympic trials, and qualified for his one and only Olympic team. In the Olympic final at Los Angeles on 4 August, only one jump was assisted by an illegal wind reading, and that was Al Joyner's first round jump. Joyner took advantage of this situation to produce his longest jump to that date, a wind-assisted 17.26m (see photo above) to win the gold medal.

The 1987 national championships at San Jose also doubled as the USA selection trials for the World Championships held later that year in Rome. At San Jose, Joyner produced the longest legal jump of his career (17.53m) in the qualifying round, and then almost equalled that in the final the next day with a jump of 17.50m, but could only finish 4th, and thus did not qualify for the USA team. If he had gone to Rome, and reproduced either of these jumps, he would have won the bronze medal. Similar bad luck dogged him in his final quest for USA team selection, at the 1988 Olympic trials in Indianapolis, where Joyner produced the longest jump of his career, a wind-assisted 17.58m, but could only finish in 5th place. (Ron Casey)