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K-State Today

March 7, 2017



Jackie Joyner-Kersee to present as part of Women's History Month

By Kim Garver

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, named "the greatest woman athlete of the 20th century" by Sports Illustrated, will speak on greatness on and off the track at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 16, in the Grand Ballroom of the K-State Union in celebration of Women's History Month. Admission to this event is free.

Joyner-Kersee also is the featured speaker at the gender, women, and sexuality studies department's annual Women's History Month Dinner at 5:30 p.m. March 16 at West Stadium. Tickets for the event are $40 for students, and $75 for the public, and can be reserved online through March 9.

Joyner-Kersee is a role model and an inspiration. Joyner-Kersee grew up in east St. Louis, Illinois. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she played basketball and competed in track and field. Kersee is a four-time Olympian: winner of the silver medal in the heptathlon in 1984, gold in the heptathlon and long jump in 1988, gold in the heptathlon in 1992, and bronze in the long jump in 1992 and 1996. She is a boundary breaker both in terms of race and gender: she is the first African-American woman to win an Olympic medal in the long jump, and the first woman to win back-to-back gold medals in the heptathlon. She continues to hold the world record for heptathlon, which she set at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

After her retirement from track and field competition, Joyner-Kersee established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation to provide opportunities for involvement in sports and to improve the quality of life, especially in east St. Louis.

In 2012, Joyner-Kersee joined the board of directors of USA Track and Field. She advocates on behalf of racial equality, women's rights, children's education, health and social reform.

The event is sponsored by the gender, women, and sexuality studies and history departments, the Staley School of Leadership Studies, the Arts and Sciences Diversity Committee and K-State Track and Field.