Jacqueline Jackie JoynerKersee is an American retired track and field athlete, ranked among the alltime greatest athletes in the womens heptathlon as well as in the womens long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted JoynerKersee the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century, just ahead of Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
Jacqueline Joyner was born March 3, 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois, and was named after Jackie Kennedy. As a high school athlete at East St. Louis Lincoln Senior High School, she qualified for the finals in the long jump at the 1980 Olympic Trials, finishing 8th behind another high schooler, Carol Lewis. She was inspired to compete in multidisciplinary track amp field events after seeing a 1975 madeforTV movie about Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Interestingly, Didrikson, the trackster, basketball player, and pro golfer, was chosen the Greatest Female Athlete of the First Half of the 20th Century. Fifteen years later, Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted JoynerKersee the greatest female athlete of all time.