This story is from the archives of UCLA Today, a discontinued publication.

FOND MEMORIES OF GRIFFITH JOYNER

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   Bruin sprinter, Olympian and world-record holder Florence Griffith Joyner, who died Sept. 21 at the age of 38, was to be among 12 former UCLA athletes and coaches inducted Oct. 3 into the Athletics Hall of Fame.

    Griffith Joyner had planned to attend the induction ceremony, which will be held before the football game against Washington State in the Rose Bowl. She will be inducted posthumously.

   While at UCLA, Griffith Joyner competed in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4 x 100m and 4 x 400 relays. She was a two-time All American and team MVPin 1982. She helped the women’s track team win back-to-back national championships in 1982 and 1983 and holds school records in the 200m and 400m.

   Her world records still stand in the 100m, set at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1988 with a time of 10.49 seconds (the only woman to run that distance under 10.50), and in the 200m, set during the Seoul Olympics in ‘88 with a time of 21.34 seconds. She won three gold medals in Seoul -- 100m, 200m and as a member of the U.S. 4 x 100m relay team. She also won silver in Seoul in the 4 x 400m relay and in Los Angeles in 1984 in the 200m.

   Jeanette Bolden, head coach of the UCLA women’s track and field team, was a teammate of Griffith Joyner at California State University, Northridge, UCLA and on two   U.S. Olympic teams. In high school, they competed against each other.

   “I remember running against her,”Bolden recalled. “Her team (Jordan High School)won the 4 x 100m relay at the state meet. Even then, she had a flair for fashion. Jordan was the only team in all-white leotards, a blue running uniform and slicked-back hair.”

   They began running together in 1980 at CSUN under then-assistant coach Bob Kersee. “At Northridge, Florence made the 100m finals at the AIAW championships and Ididn’t, while Imade the 100m finals at the U.S. championships and she didn’t. After consoling each other at both meets, we made a pact that we were going to qualify for the U.S. team in the 100m, and we both did.”

   After a year at Cal State, both athletes followed Kersee to UCLA. Bolden has fond memories not just of Griffith Joyner the gifted athlete, but Griffith Joyner the jokester.

   “Florence liked to goof around a lot. During nationals in ‘81 in Austin, Tex., she put her face up to the window of the hotel we were staying at to make a goofy expression. The girl she was making faces at on the other side hit the window and it shattered. Florence screamed bloody murder. She kept covering her face and wouldn’t let anybody touch it. Finally, Bobby (Kersee) and I wrestled Florence to the ground and pried Florence’s hands from her face. All she had was one tiny cut on her forehead. As team captain, I was supposed to keep the team focused and she had disrupted everything. I didn’t talk to Florence for the rest of the day and night I was so mad at her,” Bolden recalled.

   And there was a loving side.

   “In 1988, I tore my Achilles tendon at the U.S. trials and on that same day, Florence set the world record in the 100m. That night, she came to the hospital and brought me a teddy bear and a card,” Bolden said.

   “Here was a woman that had just set the world record, had all this media attention, and she still came to the hospital that night to see me. I’ve been thinking about that a lot.”

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