Black History Month is a time of national attention and remembrance of those who ran so we could fly. February 3rd was National Girls and Women in Sports Day. So it’s only right that we remember one of the most renowned athletes in U.S. history, Flo-Jo.
Florence Griffith-Joyner was a track Olympic champion. Though over twenty years have passed since her death in 1998, it is undeniable that her legacy isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
The Long-Standing World Record and Unforgettable Fashions of Flo-Jo
Over thirty years ago, Flo-Jo shattered the world record at the 1988 Olympic trials. On July 16th, Flo-Jo shredded the 100-meter race and became the fastest woman in the world. From there, Flo-Jo went on to bring home three gold medals on behalf of Team U.S.A and set a record for the 200-meter as well. To this day, these records remain untouched. No athlete has come close to beating them.
Flo-Jo’s massive athletic feats are not the only lasting pillar of her legacy. Flo remains one of the most fashionable icons in the history of professional sports. Period!
The late Griffith-Joyner is known for her stylish vibrant tracksuits, (most famously for her one-leg tracksuit ensembles), her gold bling, and her long-nails-don’t-care fierceness. Flo-Jo’s nails often measured over six inches in length. She made statements every time she stepped on the track. This type of style was unheard of then and even now!
During her career, she covered many magazines including Jet, Time, and Sports Illustrated. The world was captivated not only by her power as an athlete but also by her confidence and undeniable flare. Not only was she a track-star but Flo-Jo was also a designer and formerly a beautician. After all, her chic ensembles came from somewhere. Fun, fearless, and fashionable, no one did it as Flo-Jo did. She was unconventional and she knew it. She owned it and reveled in it.
Flo-Jo’s Influence Today
Last week, tennis phenom Serena Williams channeled the fierceness of Florence. Williams is another one of the world’s greatest athletes as she reminded us on February 7th. At the first round of the 2021 Australian Open, she secured a double victory over her opponent. While doing so and making it look easy, Williams also paid homage to Flo-Jo in her multi-colored one-legged Nike catsuit. In a post-victory interview, Williams said that, to her excitement, it was Nike who first suggested that Serena’s fit for the Australian Open be inspired by the incomparable Flo. Serena certainly isn’t someone who needs an article of clothing to do what she does, but we can imagine the legacy of Flo-Jo didn’t hurt at all.
Through her ensemble, Serena reminds us of the power of making a fashion statement and knowing our history. We can learn so much from Flo-Jo when it comes to standing in who we are. As long as we own our essence, it can only uplift us and never diminish us or hold us back. Black women, be comfortable, confident, and bold in who you are. Rest assured that the rest of the world will adapt and be in awe of your greatness, no matter how unconventional. You were made to stand out, not to be a cookie-cutter.
This is the power of Flo-Jo’s everlasting influence.