UCLA's Joyner-Kersee Named Dick Enberg Award Recipient
TOWSON, Md. - United States Track and Field legend and three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Dick Enberg Award.
She will receive the award at the Capital One Academic All-America® Hall of Fame Gala on Tuesday, June 28 in Marco Island, Fla., as part of the annual College Sports Information Director of America (CoSIDA) workshop.
The Capital One Hall of Fame Gala will honor both the CoSIDA Hall of Fame Class of 2011 and the Capital One Academic All-America® Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
Joyner-Kersee, who ranks among the world's greatest female track and field athletes of all time while specializing in the heptathlon and long jump, won Olympic gold medals in both of those events.
She will be the 14th individual to be honored since the award's inception in 1997.
The Dick Enberg Award is presented annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America® Teams Program and/or the student-athlete while promoting the values of education and academics.
The award was created to recognize Enberg's passion and support of the Academic All-America® program for more than 20 years, as well as his dedication to education for more than four decades.
"Jackie Joyner-Kersee personifies what the Enberg Award means to me," Enberg says. "She was committed to her education at UCLA, and throughout her life that passion for providing learning opportunities for disadvantaged youth in her home city of St. Louis has been extraordinarily generous. As an athlete, she ranks with Babe Didrickson Zaharias as one of the greatest female athletes in sport's history, and certainly is one of the most celebrated Olympians of our time. Jackie Joyner-Kersee, simply, is a gold medal winner in the arena and in life."
"I am both humbled and honored to receive this year's Dick Enberg Award," Joyner-Kersee says. "I have the utmost respect for this great man (Dick Enberg) and all of his wonderful work. I was overwhelmed with joy when I learned of my selection. I accept this award with grace and dignity, knowing that Dick Enberg is very special to the world and me. I forever will cherish that I have been chosen for this very special honor."
As one of the most decorated female athletes of all-time, Joyner-Kersee dominated the track and field circuit for 13 years and won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals spanning four Olympic Games during her illustrious career. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, she won the silver medal in the heptathlon. Four years later, at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Korea, Joyner-Kersee struck gold in both her signature events - the heptathlon (world record) and long jump. She followed that up at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain by winning gold in the heptathlon and bronze in the long jump. In her final Olympic appearance at the 1996 Atlanta Games, she won the bronze medal in the long jump.
In addition, she won a total of four gold medals (two in the heptathlon and two in the long jump) at three different World Championships and finished first in the long jump at the 1987 Pan American Games.
Sports Illustrated for Women magazine named Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century. On three different occasions (1994, 1987 and 1986), she was honored by Track & Field News as the World Athlete of the Year. She also named as the top American five times (1994, 1992, 1991, 1987 and 1986).
Joyner-Kersee received the Jesse Owens Award in both 1986 and 1987. She still holds the world record in the heptathlon (7291 points) and is the American record holder in both the heptathlon and long jump (24-7).
On December 3, 2004, she was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame. The March 2002 issue of Ebony included her on its list of the Top 10 Greatest African-American Women Athletes.
Joyner-Kersee attended college at UCLA and starred in both track & field and women's basketball from 1980-to-1985. A four-year starter on the Bruins' basketball team, she is still listed among the school's career leader in scoring average, rebounding and assists.
The inaugural recipient of the Humanitarian Athlete of the Year, Joyner-Kersee is known worldwide for her interest in aiding others. She has helped to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation in her hometown of East St. Louis, Ill., that has raised more than $12 million. She serves as the chairperson of the St. Louis Sports Commission and is co-founder of Jackie Joyner-Kersee Racing (NASCAR). In 2007, she along with several notable athletes, founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization of professional athletes who get involved in charitable causes and inspire millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support the community.
In 2010, Joyner Kersee was honored with an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.