Jackie Joyner-Kersee speaks at POET

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You know her for her long list of accomplishments, including being called the “Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century.” 

Joyner-Kersee is a six-time Olympic medalist in the categories of heptathlon and long jump. 

The lessons she learned in the sports arena are something anyone can relate to. 

On Wednesday, Joyner-Kersee got a taste of Sioux Falls.

“I have family here and they give me a hard time because every time they want me to come there’s like two or three feet of snow or the summer, but I think it’s a beautiful city. The people have been so warm” Jackie Joyner-Kersee said. 

The Olympian is sharing her life journey with a crowd at Poet. 

“We might be strangers to one another, but we all have a story and within that story there’s always a connection there of never giving up,” Joyner-Kersee said. 

Liberty Justus is in the crowd. 

As a track and field athlete at the University of South Dakota, Joyner-Kersee is an inspiration to Justus. 

“It’s cool to know that the greatest athlete has gone through a lot of adversity and has gone through a lot to be the greatest,” USD Athlete Liberty Justus said. 

So what’s her advice?

No matter what you do for a living, embrace your team, work hard, and never give up. 

“We all deal with ups and downs and we all deal with challenges. It just so happened that the arena I was in was athletics, but the same discipline it takes to be an athlete is the same discipline it takes to get up and come to work every day,” Joyner-Kersee said.

Joyner-Kersee spoke at Poet as a part of its Lunch and Learn series. 

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