Flo Jo’s Lightning-Fast Speed Was Too Good to Be True

Florence Griffith Joyner dazzled people with her incredible performance. She blew people’s minds in the ‘80s with her record-breaking speed and captivating running style. She made 200-meter sprints look like a piece of cake!

1988 Seoul Olympics - Women's 100m Final The USA's Florence Griffith Joyner after winning the race in the Olympic Stadium Seoul
1988 Seoul Olympics – Women’s 100m Final The USA’s Florence Griffith Joyner after winning the race in the Olympic Stadium Seoul. Photo By Colorsport/Shutterstock

She snatched award after award and became the first American to earn four medals in one Olympics. In 1995, she was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame. Flo Jo was on the top of the world, but a few years later, she passed away in her sleep. Here’s her story.

Flo Jo Was Incredibly Fast…and People Were Suspicious

1983 was Florence’s year. She finished fourth in the 200-meter sprint at the World Championship Athletics, and a few months later, landed the second fastest time at the United States Olympic Trial. But Florence’s mind-blowing speed raised some eyebrows.

Women's 200m Final The USA's Florence Griffith Joyner (#569) wins the gold medal in a new World Record of 21 34s.
1988 Seoul Olympics – Women’s 200m Final The USA’s Florence Griffith Joyner (#569) wins the gold medal in a new World Record of 21 34s. Photo By Colorsport/Shutterstock

How did she improve like that in such a short time? Did she use any magical pills to enhance her act? But she was repeatedly tested during competition and passed all of them. Chairman of the Olympic’s medical commission concluded: “We performed all possible and imaginable analyses on her. We never found anything. There should not be the slightest suspicion.”

Her Surprising Death

Florence was only 38 years old when she went to sleep and never woke up. It was September 21, 1998, and investigation announced that the cause of death was suffocation during a severe epileptic seizure.

Florence Griffith-Joyner (USA) Celebrates the 100m Final With Husband
Florence Griffith-Joyner (USA) Celebrates the 100m Final With Husband. Photo By Colorsport/Shutterstock

Prior to her death, Joyner was informed she suffered from cavernous hemangioma, a benign tumor that can cause seizures. Flo Jo’s life was way too short, but she created a surge in distance runners and inspired people to put on their shoes and get moving.

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