Jackie Joyner-Kersee competed in four Olympics – Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta – and has fond memories from each. After all, she medaled in all four of those Games.
While the Olympics took her to three different continents, however, they had a few things in common.
“The excitement of the Opening Ceremony as well as the Closing Ceremony,” Joyner-Kersee said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb. “You get goosebumps. It’a not until you see the parade of athletes that you realize, ‘Oh, we’re actually in the Olympic Games.’”
Joyner-Kersee, a six-time Olympic medalist, is one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time. She also competed without performance-enhancing drugs, which, sadly, have become commonplace in track and field.
“It’s unfortunate because I love our sport, and there are a lot of great athletes that work hard and take it to the next level without trying to find a short cut,” Joyner-Kersee said. “But I think with USADA and how they have really continued to educate and bring awareness (has helped). To be naive and to say it doesn’t happen – well, it’s been proven that it does. My advice to any young person or any person that’s competing at a high level is you continue to work hard. My goal was always to be consistent in everything that I was doing track and field-wise, and my moment would come. I just don’t want that dark side to always be associated with our sport, but it is there.”
Joyner-Kersee was also asked if Usain Bolt, 29, can win a gold medal this late in his career, especially after dealing with hamstring issues. It seems that Joyner-Kersee, 54, has confidence in the Kingston native.
“I think that Usain Bolt is a phenomenal athlete,” she said. “(A few weeks ago), he ran 19.86. That ain’t no slouch. That could win a lot of championships. That hamstring seems like it’s going to be ready. That’s the most difficult thing at that level. You don’t want to get injured because there’s a lot of times, especially like my last Olympic games, I was injured with a hamstring problem. You just never know when that leg is going to go. But I do think that Usain is going to be ready, as well as the American athletes are going to be ready. So it’s going to be a test, but 19.86 in the 200 meters, that’s flying.”