ST. LOUIS — Retired track and field athlete and Olympic gold medalist, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, continues to give back to her community by hosting a free event at her facility located in her hometown of East St. Louis.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is determined to shine a light on female athletes. She recognizes the effort of Title IX, but there is always room for improvement.
“Despite all of the positive changes that have happened since Title IX, we know that less than half of all high school girls play a sport, and that gap is even more disproportionate for girls of color,” Joyner-Kersee said.
So what better way to kick off Black History Month than with an educational celebration of their success? Joyner-Kersee’s event will inspire young female athletes in sports by highlighting women achievements throughout history.
The event is not exclusive to only women of color, however. It will be set up into a round table discussion followed by a quick workout session for the girls.
Other former athletes and business women will be in attendance, such as track and field Olympian Dawn Harper-Nelson, Lecia Rives, Joslyn Sadier and Najah Fennoy. These women will offer their advice on important topics like of fair play, building awareness about Title IX, and working together toward its promise of equal opportunity in sports.
“We want this day to be educational for these girls, but also fun,” Joyner-Kersee said.
More than 100 girls between the ages of fifth and 12th grade are expected to attend this event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
She has her own establishment, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center as well as her foundation. Since her retirement, she has been dedicated to catering to underprivileged youth by giving them the tools to excel in academics, athletes, and as a leader.
Feb. 6 marks the 33rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which is also the day Joyner-Kersee’s event takes place. National Girls and Women in Sports Day began in 1987 as a special day to recognize women’s sports. NGWSD is now celebrated annually nationwide with events and award ceremonies.
Although Joyner-Kersee was an outstanding athlete with an even better career to show for it, she understands that there is more to life for an athlete than just sports.
“We want to teach girls that sports are about much more than just playing a game. It can give them the confidence, strength and character-building skills they need to win in life," said Joyner-Kersee.