Jackie Joyner-Kersee sets high bar for students

NORTH DENVER — The North High Cross Country team had the remarkable opportunity to sit down with Olympian Gold Medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee on September 13 as part of a Comcast press conference about their low-cost Internet Essentials program.

Ms. Joyner-Kersee and the team had a wide-ranging inspirational question and answer session. She talked to the student-athletes about the importance of discipline in their sport and managing their time well because academics come first. She reminded the kids that they can’t “turn it on in the meet” if they haven’t been putting in the work during practice.

She credited mental toughness and her outstanding coaches with helping her win four different Olympic Games from 1984 to 1996.

She took home three gold, one silver and two bronze Olympic medals in the women’s heptathlon (a two-day marathon of strength and prowess in 100-metre hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-metre, long jump, javelin throws and 800-metre competitions) as well as the women’s long jump.

Jackie’s training philosophy is “those who know why will always beat those who know how” and reminded the team to “always know the ‘why’.”  She also discussed keeping distractions to a minimum and that “it’s important to recognize the company you keep,” a valuable lesson to high school aged students beginning to figure out their place in the world. 

She ended the inspiring session discussing how important goals are and told the students that they have the ability to make their dreams come true.  Valuable advice from the woman voted the “Greatest Female Athlete of All-Time” by Sports Illustrated for Women magazine.

During the Comcast press conference Mayor Hancock reflected on Joyner-Kercee’s Q&A with North students.  “She is a hero and inspiration to so many young girls. When she can run backwards, without shoes, and on rocks she is giving back to the community and standing up to make this world a better place.”

Rebecca Caldwell  |  Rebecca_caldwell@dpsk12.org

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