Florence Griffith Joyner, named the Sullivan Award winner for 1988 as the nation’s top amateur athlete, says she’s finding retirement difficult to accept.
“I didn’t think I would miss it this much,” said FloJo, who announced her retirement last month.
“I know I looked forward to the days when I wouldn’t have to get up and run around and lift weights, but I really miss it,” she added.
Griffith Joyner won three gold medals and a silver at the 1988 Olympics at Seoul.
Supported by her husband, Al Joyner, and wiping away tears, she said: “It took me 20 years to get a world record and a gold medal. If I had to do it all over, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
She thanked her husband, who served as her coach in the final months of her career.
“He’s done so much,” she said. “Getting up in the morning for workouts and sometimes at midnight. He gave up a lot of his career.”
Joyner, 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the long jump, is now being coached by his wife.
“I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I this hard on her?’ ” he said. “She shows no pity for me. She really makes me work.”
The stop in Indianapolis is just another mark on a hectic international travel schedule the 29-year-old from Los Angeles has maintained since setting two world records in the 100 and 200 meters at the Olympics.
“In recent months I’ve been to Germany, Harvard, New York, back to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and back to San Francisco. I’ll be home a couple of days and then I’ll be on the road again,” she said. “In May, I’ll be heading to Japan for two weeks.”
Griffith Joyner joins her sister-in-law, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, on the list of Sullivan winners. Joyner-Kersee was the 1986 winner.
“What has happened is way beyond anything I ever dreamed,” Griffith Joyner said.
Nine other Olympians also were finalists--swimmers Matt Biondi and Janet Evans, figure skater Brian Boitano, kayaker Greg Barton, speedskater Bonnie Blair, volleyball player Karch Kiraly, boxer Roy Jones, basketball player Katrina McClain and wrestler John Smith.