Flo Jo’s unbreakable record

image credit : Anacleto Rapping/ LA times

Athletics, basketball, football and chess are my forte when it comes to sports and athletics comes top of the bunch.

I have been following professional athletics since I was in primary school (4th grade to be exact :)), from the 100m, 200m, 400m, 1500, 3000 steeplechase, relays etc. and the women’s 100m always stood out for me.

I have seen loads of great female 100m athletes tear up the tracks from the likes of Merlen Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Mary Onyali, Marion Jones et al. but one name towers above the rest — the great Florence Griffith-Joyner!

picture alliance / dpa

Flo Jo as she is popularly called was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She was a very lively, colourful character on the tracks and I think only the great Usain Bolt comes close in terms of showmanship on the track.

She was visibly known for her bold fashion style with the very long fingernails and colourful one-legged running suit.

credit SaycheeseDGTL

Flo Jo’s untouchable 10.49 was ran in the US Olympics trial in 1988, this obliterated the former world record held by fellow American Evelyn Ashford (10.76). This got tongues wagging from all corners.

There were rumors and allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, many eyebrows were raised ‘cos of her dramatic improvement over a short period of time.

But she attributed the dramatic change to new health programs and training. Flo Jo was subjected to rigorous drug tests but all came out negative.

That didn’t stop people up to this day from throwing suspicions over the world record she set in 1988. The main crux of the matter is that it is hard to believe with the advancement in medicine & training over the years since Flo Jo’s day, her records (the 100m & 200m) still haven’t been broken or come close to been broken since 1988.

All that said, one thing for sure is that credit should be given to her for being among the progenitor of showmanship in the professional track and field event.

Finally, one question in the hearts of many like me every night is — will Flo Jo’s 100m record ever be broken?

May her soul continue to rest in peace.

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