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Jackie Joyner-Kersee: 6x Olympic Medalist & Philanthropist (ep. 450)

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

John O’Leary welcomes six-time Olympic medalist and philanthropist Jackie Joyner-Kersee to the Live Inspired Podcast for a special livestream interview.

Six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee is regarded by many as the greatest female athlete of all time. After retiring, Jackie chose to return to her impoverished hometown with a greater purpose: empower youth in her community to dream, and have the drive and determination to succeed.

Today, hear Jackie share the pivotal moments in her life when she chose to never give up, why she refuses to let her environment define who she is and what that means for you.

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  • Growing up in the impoverished area of East St. Louis, Jackie was taught the importance of values, respect for yourself + others and a desire to work hard.
  • From last to first: While attending a local community center, Jackie started competing in track & field, setting goals to improve.
  • Finish what you start. While on scholarship at UCLA, Jackie’s mother passed away suddenly. Devastated, Jackie returned, playing basketball and track & field.
  • “It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.”
  • “I maintained my edge by always being a student; you will always have something new to learn.”
  • “Your environment doesn’t have the right to define you.”
  • The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation has grown to become a safe haven and learning-rich environment for area youth. Learn more about the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation here.

Rewatch the live stream interview here:


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Bible and Invisible Child by Andrea Elliott.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Relentless attitude to never give up.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My inhaler.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Wilma Rudolph.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Never give up. Win when you can win.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Time management, prioritization and have balance.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. She was really a great human being.