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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Olympic countdown: 62 days
A bank clerk set an Olympic best of 10.62

American sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988
Flojo came out of semi-retirement to win three golds and a silver in Seoul in 1988
Florence Griffith-Joyner's 10.62 seconds in the heats of the 100m in Seoul still remains an Olympic record.

She went on to win the gold medal and mirrored that in the 200m, setting an Olympic and world best of 21.34secs in the final to win a second gold.

A third gold in those Games came in the 4x100m and Flojo claimed her second silver (after second place in the 200m in Los Angeles) in the 4x400m.

She died tragically in her sleep aged 38 after a form of epileptic seizure.

Born on 21 December 1959, Delorez Florence Griffith had been the seventh of 11 children raised in Watts, Los Angeles.

She began racing at seven years old but was forced to give up when she was 19 to help support her family.

Sprint coach Bob Kersee found her working as a bank clerk and helped get the financial aid to help her enroll at UCLA to resume her track career.

Griffith's won silver at the 1984 Games in her hometown and her long painted nails and stylish running suits gained her even more attention with the media.

But she was backing semi-retirement in 1986, having returned to working in a bank and as a beautician.

She returned to serious training in 1987 and was now focused on ending her run of second places.

Flojo was memorable for her decoratively painted nails
Flojo's nails earned her even more media attention

With the help of a weight-lifting programme, the incorporation of endurance runs into her training and studying videos of Ben Johnson's start and Carl Lewis' running style, she transformed her performances.

She stunned the world with a new world record of 10.49secs at the US Olympic Trials in 1988 before going on to winning her three golds and one silver in Seoul.

Ben Johnson's disqualification and Flojo's bulked-up physique left sceptics to question her performances.

And Griffith-Joyner fuelled the speculation that she could have been using steroids by announcing her retirement on 25 February 1989, the eve of mandatory random drug testing.

Flojo will be remembered as one of true characters of the story of the modern Olympics.

Links to more Olympics 2004 stories


Olympic countdown: 65 days
06 Jun 04  |  Olympics 2004
Olympic countdown: 64 days
09 Jun 04  |  Olympics 2004
Olympic countdown: 63 days
09 Jun 04  |  Olympics 2004


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