SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Most of her life has been on the fast track. Jackie Joyner-Kersee has won six Olympic medals, including three gold.
She says it’s the races she lost that provided her with the biggest lessons.
“When I trained, I didn’t train to be second best. I trained to be the best. I had to learn, things are going to happen. How do you adapt and how do you adjust and how do you continue to see it through. You’re knocked down, you get back up, stay consistent.”Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Six-time Olympic Medalist
She was in Syracuse for KeyBank’s Key4Women Forum, which helps women as they progress through their business goals.
“We know how important it is for our communities to have diversity in all forms, we’re just fortunate to be able to be a part of it,” said KeyBank Market President Stephen Fournier.
Sports Illustrated named Joyner-Kersee the ‘Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century.’ She overcame many hurdles to accomplish that including severe asthma and poverty. She was encouraged she said, “To never give up.”
Giving back is just as important to her. The community center she played in as a child and exposed her to sports and other opportunities closed, so she decided to build her own and start a foundation.
“For me, to not forget where I come from,” Joyner-Kersee explained. “I think that it’s very important being back in the community so our young people can really believe it’s possible.”
She says that’s what she wants her legacy to be, helping the next generation. That’s worth its weight in gold.
As part of the forum, Juli Boeheim and Anne Messenger were honored for their work in the community. Boeheim is the 2022 Achieve Award Winner and Messenger is the 2022 Community Impact Award Winner.