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Jackie Joyner-Kersee - U.S.A. - Olympic long jump bronze at 34

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 09 August 1997

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Jackie JOYNER-KERSEE - U.S.A. - Olympic long jump bronze at 34


By 1996, age had started to catch up with Jackie Joyner-Kersee and she did not enjoy the dominance that she had during the peak of her career. The US national championships held at Atlanta in June 1996 also served as the US selection trials for the Olympic Games held later that year in the same city. In the heptathlon, Joyner-Kersee qualified for her fourth Olympic team when she finished second with 6403 points. In the long jump held eight days later, she won with a wind-assisted leap of 7.04m, made on her first attempt. A month before the national championships, Joyner-Kersee had jumped 7.20m, also at Atlanta, which was the world's longest jump in 1996.


At the Olympic Games in July, her heptathlon career came to a rather sad end when she withdrew with a hamstring injury after limping over the line in the first event, the 100m Hurdles. Despite this injury, she returned six days later to contest the long jump final. Although jumping in great pain from the injured hamstring, Joyner-Kersee's great competitive spirit helped her to improve from 6th place after five rounds to grab the bronze medal on her 6th attempt. In 1997 she concentrated solely on the long jump, finishing second in a wind-assisted 6.91m to rising star Marion Jones in the US national championships at Indianapolis on 15 June. At her sixth World Championships in Athens on August 9, she finished fifth in the long jump with a leap of 6.79m (see photo above), one place behind her old rival Heike Drechsler, who was also competing in her sixth World Championships.


This brought Joyner Kersee's long and illustrious career to a close, ending 15 years of international competition, including 5 world records, 6 Olympic medals (3 gold) and 4 World Championships gold medals. (Ron Casey)