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Flo Jo Sets 100-Meter Record July 16, 1988

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10.49 controversial record still stands, 25 years later.

Florence Griffith-Joyner, affectionately known as Flo Jo, broke the world record in the women’s 100-meter dash by so much, the broadcasters (see video below) thought for sure that she had run a wind assisted race. Earlier in the day she ran a 10.6, which was faster than the existing world record of 10.76 (Evelyn Ashford, 1984), but her 10.6 actually was wind assisted.

INDIANAPOLIS-As good a runner as she is, Florence Griffith Joyner has been better known through the years for her sense of fashion. Start with the fingernails. At the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, when they were 4 inches long, she painted three of them red, white and blue. She painted a fourth gold, for the color of the medal she hoped to win in the 200 meters. Instead, she finished second and won a silver medal.
NY Times read more

Even more controversial than Flo Joe’s fashion statement, was the race itself. Nick Linthorne argues that the wind was actually +5.5 m/s at the time of the race.

Perhaps as equally stunning as Flojo’s sprint times was the official wind reading for her quarterfinal: 0.0. This wind reading was greeted with universal disbelief by those who witnessed the race. On that day the winds in the stadium were very strong. Of the wind readings taken in the men’s triple jump, which was conducted at the same time on a runway next to the 100m straight, only three of the 46 measurable jumps were wind-legal. In this competition Willie Banks rode a hefty +5.2 wind out to 18.20m, the longest jump recorded under any conditions. The triple jump wind-indicator board showed +4.3 for the jump prior to the first of the three 100m quarterfinals. Yet somehow the official wind reading for quarterfinal I (and Flojo’s world record) was a nowhere-near-believ-able 0.0.
Read the whole article here.

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