Memorable moments: Flo-Jo breaks the mould

In an era of butch, stern female athletes, Flo-Jo's glamour and radiance contributed as much to her legend as her stunning triple gold medal in Seoul.


The glamorous American started her career as a 200m specialist, but entered the Olympics as the favourite for a sprint double having set a world record 10.49 in the US 100m trials.

And she lit up the stadium as she streaked to an emphatic 100m-200m double, setting a world record 21.34 in the latter event, which she won by nearly four tenths of a second.

A third triumph came in the 4x100m relay, in which the US, with Griffith Joyner on the third leg, won thanks to a sensational performance on the final straight by Evelyn Ashford, who overhauled East Germany's Marlies Goehr.

Like many sprinters of the time, Griffith-Joyner was dogged by rumours of steroid use, and her tragic early death provoked more whispers. But the facts are that she never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and her autopsy showed no evidence of their use.

A reluctant athlete, Flo-Jo retired from competition after Seoul, citing her desire to start a family and her dislike of diet restrictions during training.

She died in her sleep in 1998 after suffering a seizure. She was 38.

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