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Thursday, June 7, 2012
40 greatest female athletes: Florence Griffith-Joyner


Florence Griffith Joyner
Flo-Jo entered the Seoul Olympics as the transcendent star who raced wearing four-inch, painted fingernails and fashionable track outfits that she designed herself.
ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years. 

Florence Griffith-Joyner was stylish, graceful and faster than any woman in history.

In the summer of 1988, the No. 12 woman in ESPN's countdown set a pair of world records -- first in the 100 meters (10.49 seconds), then in the 200 meters (21.34) -- that many people believe will never be broken. She won three Olympic gold medals at the Seoul Games, in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay; she also took silver in the 4x400 relay.

"One of the reasons she became so dominant was because of her passion," her former husband Al Joyner says. "She applied herself in everything she did. And it wasn't just running. It was motherhood; it was how deeply she loved. She was second to none in everything she tried."

But Griffith-Joyner,  who took up running as a sport when she was only 7 years old, died of epilepsy when she was only 38.

Read the full story from espnW here.

Earlier in this series:
No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia
No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone
No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton
No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato
No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly
No. 35: Basketball player Diana Taurasi
No 34: Volleyball player Flo Hyman
No. 33: Soccer player Abby Wambach
No. 32: Swimmer Mary T. Meagher
No. 31: Marathoner Joan Benoit
No. 30: Sprinter Gail Devers
No. 29: Basketball player Nancy Lieberman
No. 28: Marathoner Grete Waitz
No. 27: Soccer player Michelle Akers
No. 26: Basketball player Chamique Holdsclaw
No. 25: Swimmer Dara Torres
No. 24: Golfer Nancy Lopez
No. 23: Swimmer Tracy Caulkins
No. 22: Soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva
No. 21: Tennis player Venus Williams
No. 20: Figure skater Michelle Kwan
No. 19: Skier Lindsey Vonn
No. 18: Softball player Lisa Fernandez
No. 17: Basketball player Ann Meyers Drysdale
No. 16: Basketball player Sheryl Swoopes
No. 15: Swimmer Janet Evans
No. 14: Figure skater Katarina Witt
No. 13: Basketball player Cheryl Miller