Very few athletes have the opportunity to reinvent their sport. Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one such athlete. She has amassed 20 records in the heptathlon and has won three Olympic gold medals. Off the track, she is a business executive who runs her own sports-marketing firm and heads the JJK Community Foundation, an organization that sponsors programs for disadvantaged youth.
After graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1985 with a B.A. degree in history, Jackie Joyner-Kersee went on to build one of the most illustrious athletic careers in the world of track and field. But don't try to classify this multifaceted young woman. "I don't consider myself one dimensional. I strive to be a 'Jackie of all trades'---an individual who has accomplished a great deal through athletics."
Accomplishment is an understatement. Joyner-Kersee has "racked up" over 20 records in various events and over 24 recognition awards including the Sullivan Award, the most prestigious amateur athletic award in the sports world. She was also the recipient of the St. Louis Ambassadors Sportswoman of the Year and Sporting News Athlete of the Year awards, the first woman to be honored with either of these awards. She was honored by the Athletic Congress for being the first athlete to consecutively receive the Jesse Owens Memorial Award.
"You could say I was born with a will to compete", says Joyner-Kersee, named after Jacqueline Kennedy, the former first lady. "What most people don't understand about me is that I'm concentrating my energies on myself and not on my competition. I'm constantly striving to improve myself in whatever I do and remain committed."
Joyner-Kersee brings this same commitment, versatility and sense of accomplishment to everything she does. Off the track, Joyner-Kersee is a business executive who runs her own sports-marketing firm. And as a way of giving back to the community that supported her, she created the JJK Community Foundation that sponsors programs for disadvantaged youngsters.
Following the 1996 Olympics, Joyner-Kersee signed a one-year contract with the Richmond Rage franchise in the new women’s American Basketball League.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee has become a dynamic motivational speaker and is in demand from youth groups to major corporations. She displays a holistic outlook and demeanor in the boardroom --along with a business philosophy of looking not only at the big picture, but at each individual task involved on the road to achieving success. "Excelling in athletics is great, but it is only one part of me...it's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I plan to accomplish."
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