National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Born East St. Louis, Illinois
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Sports Illustrated’s choice as the “Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century,” was featured on the cover of the September 1988 issue of Time magazine. As a highly decorated female athlete, Joyner-Kersee has won a total of six Olympic medals for the heptathlon and long-jump competitions, including three golds, one silver, and two bronzes. Although she was diagnosed with asthma as a college athlete, Joyner-Kersee refused to let her medical condition limit her success. She has competed in four Summer Olympiads and currently holds the world heptathlon record with an astounding 7,291 points. Joyner-Kersee retired in 2001 and now works toward improving the lives of families and children around the world as the founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation.