Alfrederick "Al" Joyner (born January 19, 1960)[1] is an American track and field coach and former athlete. He was born in East St. Louis, Illinois. He is the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump. He was also the husband of three-time Olympic gold medalist and world 100 m and 200 m record holder Florence Griffith Joyner and is the brother of three-time Olympic gold medalist and world heptathlon record holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Al "Sweet- Water" Joyner
Personal information
Full nameAlfrederick A. Joyner
BornJanuary 19, 1960 (1960-01-19) (age 60)
East St. Louis, Illinois, U.S.


A star athlete at Lincoln High School in East St. Louis, Illinois, Joyner went on to attend Arkansas State University. He competed with their track and field team throughout his college career and, by the time he graduated, Joyner was a three-time NCAA All-American indoor champion, a three-time NCAA All-American and outdoor champion, a four-time Southland Conference champ and had placed 8th in the triple jump at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1984 Joyner traveled to Los Angeles for the Summer Games to compete with the U.S. Olympic track and field team. With a leap of 56 feet 7.5 inches, he became the first African American in 80 years to win a gold medal in the triple jump. He was honored with the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given every four years to the best American competitor in an Olympic Field Event. That same year, he cheered his sister Jackie Joyner Kersee as she competed in the heptathlon. When she captured a silver in the event, they became the first sibling teammates in U.S. history to win medals during the same Olympics.

On October 10, 1987, Joyner married track athlete Florence Griffith, later known as Flo–Jo. The two met in 1980 at the Olympic trials registration. He later became his wife's coach. Griffith Joyner won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games. Their daughter Mary Ruth was born in 1990. Griffith-Joyner died from an epileptic seizure at the age of 38 in 1998. After his wife's death, Joyner began traveling to promote her newly published book, Running for Dummies, and jump-start the Florence Griffith Joyner charity/scholarship fund. He also began directing the Flo Jo Community Empowerment Foundation, an organization dedicated to making dreams come true for the youth around the world. One dollar from every sale of Running for Dummies is donated to this foundation.

For demonstrating excellence on and off the track, Joyner has been inducted into the Arkansas State University Track and Field Hall of Fame (1993), the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame (1997) and the Illinois Track and Field Hall of Fame (1999). He was hired by to write columns on track and field for the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. During this time, he also coached two athletes with their sights on the 2000 U.S. Olympic Track and Field team, and was himself training to compete in the men's triple jump trials. A knee injury prevented him from participating.

With 15 years of coaching experience under his belt, Joyner joined the University of California UCLA in Los Angeles' track and field staff as an assistant coach/women's jumps coach from 1999 to 2003. "Al Joyner brings to our program world-class experience and recognition in the jumps, both as a competitor and coach", said Jeanette Bolden, UCLA's women's head coach: "I have known Al since 1983. I have always found him to be an extremely hard worker who is enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about the jumps and sprints." Joyner has also worked with a host of professional players from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and Soccer. He was the sprint & jump coach for the 2005 USOC Paralympics team in Helsinki, which won 16 out of the 30 medals the USA team won. In 2005 he joined the USATF/ USOC coaching staff and became the full-time USOC high performance jump coach in 2007. He lives in Chula Vista, California.


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing   United States
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 8th 16.76 m
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 1st 17.26 m
1987 World Indoor Championships Indianapolis, United States 5th 16.92 m


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Al Joyner". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC.

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