a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Florence Griffith Joyner

The 6-inch fuchsia nails; the wild mane of tousled hair; the metallic one-legged leotards that she designed herself and dubbed "athletic negligees." Florence Griffith Joyner's Solid Gold style—which she claimed she cultivated out of fear that she'd "look like a boy"—made her one of the most distinctive sprinters of all time. But even without the outrageous outfits, it was easy to spot Flo-Jo on the track: She was the one way, way out in front. Griffith Joyner took home one medal in the 1984 Olympics and then, in 1988, burned her way through Seoul—racking up three golds, one silver, and two world records. Post-Olympics, she wrote books, co-chaired the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and had a daughter. Griffith Joyner died in 1998, at 38, from complications of epilepsy, but her legacy—both athletic and stylistic—endures.

—Sarah Cristobal

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