Olympic Legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee Talks Perseverance, Women’s Sports

She's been named one of the 50 Great Athletes of All Time by ESPN and Female Athlete of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated for Women. Illinois' own Jackie Joyner-Kersee set new records and picked up medals in track and field events from the hurdle to the long jump.

Joyner-Kersee won back-to-back Olympic medals in the seven-event heptathlon. She’s also the first African-American woman to win an Olympic medal in the long jump and the first woman to score 7,000 points in the heptathlon. She still holds the world record of 7,291 points in the heptathlon.

Today, Joyner-Kersee is the founder and CEO of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation in her hometown of East St. Louis. The organization works to provide guidance and support to at-risk and low-income children by providing safe play spaces, school work help and athletic programming.

The former athlete is in Chicago to serve as the guest speaker for the Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series at Northeastern Illinois University. Previous speakers in the series have featured legendary journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin and financial expert Terry Savage.

Follow Brandis Friedman on Twitter @BrandisFriedman

Related stories:

On the Ice With Bradie Tennell, Team USA Figure Skater

From Chicago to Rio: Local Athletes Gear Up For Summer Olympics

Jesse Owens Documentary