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Griffith Joyner Named Woman Athlete of Year

January 25, 1989|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Florence Griffith Joyner, the Queen of Seoul, who orchestrated three golden hits and one silver at the Summer Olympics and authored two record-smashing performances during 1988, today was named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.

Griffith Joyner kept the award in the family. Her sister-in-law, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, was the 1987 winner.

"FloJo" brought attention to herself not only with sensational accomplishments on the track, but also with her dazzling racing attire, her mandarin-like fingernails, her flashy rings, her flowing hair and her radiant smile.

Still, it was her track performances that earned Griffith Joyner the award over such outstanding candidates as West German Steffi Graf, only the third women's tennis player to win the Grand Slam; Joyner-Kersee, a double Olympic gold medalist; American Olympic swimming star Janet Evans; East German Katarina Witt, the Olympic figure skating gold medalist, and East German Kristin Otto, winner of six Olympic swimming gold medals.

Griffith Joyner, who won Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and the 400-meter relay, along with a silver in the 1,600-meter relay and set world records in the 100 and 200 during 1988, collected 549 points in balloting by a national panel of 155 sports writers and broadcasters. She received 78 first-place votes, 48 seconds and 15 thirds. Points were alloted on a 5-3-1 basis.

Graf, winner of the U.S., French and Australian opens and Wimbledon, along with the Olympic gold medal, completing a "Golden Slam," finished second with 420 points.

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