Joyner-Kersee speaking tonight

Nicole Stejskal

Washburn University will welcome the most decorated female athlete in Olympic track and field history to speak about her life, career and experiences as a world champion.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time, will give a presentation at 7 tonight in the Washburn Room of the Memorial Union. The event is the third part of WSGA’s lecture series.

Named Female Athlete of the 20th Century, Joyner-Kersee became the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon, and she set the world record in the heptathlon with 7,291 points. She is also the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the long jump, and she won six total medals in four consecutive Olympic Games.

Joyner-Kersee’s journey to success has not been an easy one, though. She has dealt with poverty, discrimination and tragedy, and she will focus on how she has overcome these obstacles in her lecture.

WSGA has worked this year to bring speakers to campus that will have an impact on students and their involvement with the WTE.

“We focused on transforming your education for the lecture series, and we really wanted to get all different aspects of our culture at Washburn,” said Blake Bryant, WSGA special events director. “Greg Mortensen focused on anthropology and social aspects, and Ron Clark focused on education, so we wanted Jackie Joyner-Kersee to focus on athletes and that realm of our culture.”

WSGA staff members encourage students to attend the event in hopes of continuing the lecture series’ success.

“It’s a great thing to have big people like this come to our campus,” said Erica Koepsel, WSGA publicity director. “The more people that come to events like this, the bigger the people we can continue to bring to campus.”

Bryant also feels that students should come to the lecture to learn about the importance of overcoming adversity.

“What Jackie Joyner-Kersee has overcome in her life and what she has done with her athletic career is very inspiring and powerful, and she’ll talk about a lot of good topics that we kind of look over in life,” said Bryant. “She proves how focusing on those things can bring about good things in your life.”