Jacqueline "Jackie" Joyner-Kersee (born March 3, 1962) is a retired American athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the women's heptathlon as well as in the women's long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those four different events. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century, just ahead of Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
Jacqueline Joyner was born March 3, 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois, and was named after Jackie Kennedy. As a high school athlete at East St. Louis Lincoln High School, she qualified for the finals in the Long Jump at the 1980 Olympic Trials, finishing 8th behind another high schooler, Carol Lewis. She was inspired to compete in multi-disciplinary track & field events after seeing a 1975 made-for-TV movie about Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Interestingly, Didrikson, the trackster, basketball player, and pro golfer, was chosen the "Greatest Female Athlete of the First Half of the 20th Century. Fifteen years later, "Sports Illustrated for Women" magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the greatest female athlete of "all time".
Joyner-Kersee attended college at the University of California at Los Angeles, where she starred in both track & field and in women's basketball from 1980-1985. She was a starter in her forward position for each of her first three seasons (1980–81, 81-82, and 82-83) as well as in her senior (fifth) year, 1984-1985. She had red-shirted during the 1983-1984 academic year to concentrate on the heptathlon for the 1984 Summer Olympics.