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Florence Griffith Joyner: World's Fastest Woman

Women's History
Women's History


Florence Griffith Joyner: World's Fastest Woman
Print Florence Griffith Joyner: World's Fastest Woman Reading Comprehension with Fifth Grade Work

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Print Florence Griffith Joyner: World's Fastest Woman Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.61

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    autopsy, co-chair, epileptic, comeback, jackrabbit, seizure, trademark, participate, symbolize, actress, flamboyant, designer, attend, shortly, fame, psychology
     content words:    Flo Jo, Florence Griffith, Los Angeles, Dee Dee, Mojave Desert, Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, Jesse Owens National Youth Games, Jordan High School, California State University, Jackie Joyner Kersee


Florence Griffith Joyner: World's Fastest Woman
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     Thousands of people cheered and waved American flags as the "fastest woman alive" crossed the finish line in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. An amazing young woman nicknamed "Flo Jo" had just set a world record in the 200-meter Olympic track race.
 
2     Florence Griffith was born in Los Angeles, California, on December 21, 1959. She was the seventh of eleven children. She was nicknamed "Dee Dee" by her family. They lived in the Mojave Desert of California. Dee Dee amused herself by chasing jackrabbits. When she was five, her father challenged her to try to catch a jackrabbit. Florence caught one that day with no trouble at all. Shortly after this her parents got divorced. Her mother moved Florence and her siblings back into the projects area of Los Angeles.
 
3     At the age of seven, Florence entered the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation running competition, which she won. She continued to compete in track meets from that point on. In 1973, she won the Jesse Owens National Youth Games. She broke track records for sprints and the long jump at Jordan High School. She was a straight A student. She graduated from high school in 1978.
 
4     Florence went on to attend college at California State University. Two years later, she moved to the University of California at Los Angeles. There she won the 1982 NCAA title in the 200-meter dash. Florence graduated from UCLA in 1983 with a degree in psychology.
 
5     Around this time she began to work as a bank secretary. She gained nearly 60 pounds and was out of shape. She quit participating in track at that time. Her friend Jackie Joyner Kersee badgered Florence to get back into the gym. In 1984, Florence made a comeback. She finished in second place in the 200-meter run in her hometown of Los Angeles. This was her first Olympic medal.

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