Jackie Joyner Kersee was born in 1962 in East St. Louis. She was introduced to the masses of America in 1987 when she graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, with the headline proclaiming her as “Super Woman.” Kersee then went on to win gold medals in the long jump and heptathlon, breaking a world record with 7,291 points in the latter sport.
Kersee was a dominant force who had done all she could with the game when she decided to retire in 1996, after six medals from four Olympics. Sports Illustrated went on to name her the “Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century.”
Along with other heavyweight athletic names like Andre Agassi, the late, great Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Mia Hamm, Jeff Gordon, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr., Kersee founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization that helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and help inspire millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support the community.