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Published January 26, 2023
One of the greatest athletes in American history will speak at the University of Wyoming Wednesday, Feb. 1, to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day and conclude the 50th anniversary observance of the federal Title IX civil rights law.
A conversation with Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, selected by Sports Illustrated as “The Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century,” is set for 6 p.m. in UW’s Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts. The public is invited to the free event.
“We are delighted and honored to have such an accomplished athlete, advocate and speaker coming to UW to help us celebrate the landmark law that made it possible for women and girls to participate more fully in all academic endeavors, including the athletic arena,” says Jacquelyn Bridgeman, director of UW’s School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice, which is one of the event’s sponsors. “In addition to her unparalleled career as an athlete, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is an inspiring motivational speaker who speaks with authority on topics including business success, medical issues, nutrition, women’s issues and youth advocacy.”
Other sponsors of the event are UW Athletics and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Competing in the heptathlon and long jump, Joyner-Kersee won six Olympic medals -- three gold, one silver and two bronze -- and four world champion titles over four consecutive Olympic Games. She was the first woman in history to earn more than 7,000 points in the heptathlon and today, over 20 years later, she still holds the world heptathlon record of 7,291 points. She continues to hold the Olympic and national records in the long jump, and her 1994 performance in the long jump remains the second longest in history.
In addition to the heptathlon and the long jump, Joyner-Kersee was a world-class 100- and 200-meter runner and, after a decorated All-American career in basketball at UCLA, she eventually played professional basketball for a short time.
“Jackie has been an inspiration to so many people,” says Bridgeman, also UW’s Kepler Professor of Law who competed as a track and field student-athlete at Stanford University after graduating from Laramie High School. “We’re excited that our community will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with such a distinguished individual.”