Friday, January 5, 2018

Gifts Inspired by Photo of Flo Jo

Florence Delorez Griffith-Joyner (Flo Jo) poses in a circa 1989 photograph with young girls dressed in one-legger track suits inspired by those designed and worn by Flo Jo.  Each girl holds a Flo Jo doll by LJN, copyright 1989. (Photo source:  Pinterest, original source unknown)

After seeing the above photograph of 1988 Olympic gold medal winner Flo Jo, and not yet knowing what I would give my 12-year-old niece for Christmas, the Flo Jo doll came to mind.  Since my niece has been involved in track for the past couple of years at least, the doll seemed appropriate.  At the time the doll purchase was considered, I was not sure if my niece was even familiar with Flo Jo and her accomplishments on or off the track field. So in addition to the doll, I wanted to give her a book  about this remarkable, beautiful woman, known as "The World's Fastest Woman," who unfortunately died in 1998 due to complications of an epileptic seizure.

Flo Jo doll by LJN wears a fashionable track suit similar to the one Flo Jo wore at the 1988 US Olympic Track and Field Trials. 
Close-up of the Flo Jo doll's face.
The Flo Jo doll looks like the lovely Flo Jo.  Dressed in an iconic "one-legger" track suit, there is no mistaking whom the doll represents.  Included with the doll is a gold lamé tote bag, a pair of white running shoes, a brush and a full set of colorful Flo Jo nail stickers.  (Flo Jo was also well known for her lengthy fingernails which were always painted and bejeweled.)

The front side flap of the box illustrates Flo Jo's fashion, fitness, and fantasy styles.  Flo Jo chose to stand apart from the rest, choosing to design unconventional running suits for track competitions.  She also designed clothes for herself.

An image of the lovely Flo Jo on the back of the doll's box illustrates one of her coordinated fashions with coat lining that matches the color of her blouse.

The back of the side flap illustrates the many ways the doll's thick black rooted hair can be styled.

The text in the center on the back of the box reads:
She is an all American beauty and she's right on track with her very own fashions.  This gold medal winner has beautiful hair you can comb and style.  Dress her and change her hair styles to match the fitness and fantasy life style. Collect all of Flo Jo's sensational fashion outfits. 
Below the text is Flo Jo's signature.

In addition to the doll, I also purchased the two following Flo Jo fashions for my niece:

Item #2511 is a one-piece running suit with purple cummerbund, aqua arm band, and pink knee pad.  A white pair of running shoes is also included.

Item  #2510 is a two-piece navy blue suit with bejeweled top and skirt, gold lamé clutch, and gold pumps.
The back of the fashions illustrates all six, separately sold Flo Jo doll fashions, Item #'s 2507, 2508, 2510 are shown on the first row and #'s 2509, 2511, and 2512 are shown on the second row.


In order for her to learn about Flo Jo's early life, her accomplishments in track and field, and in other areas of her life, I included an ex-library copy of Florence Griffith-Joyner by Mark Stewart, which at the time of publication was an authorized biography.  The book was published two years prior to Flo Jo's death.  My niece can gain additional information about Flo Jo's achievements at the Flo Jo website, on Youtube, and other kid-friendly areas of the Internet.

Because all these gifts were vintage, I also included cash inside a custom made personalized purse I had made for my niece.  She's saving for college, she says.

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Additional Information About Flo Jo:
  • Grew up in Watts, California.
  • Played with Barbies and designed clothes for her dolls as a child.
  • Maintained an adult interest in fashion design.
  • 1983 graduate of UCLA with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
  • 1984 Olympics, won a silver medal in the 200 meter run.
  • 1987 married Alfredrick Alphonso (Al) Joyner, the Olympic triple jump champion of 1984.  To this union was born one child, a daughter, Mary Joyner, who was a contestant in season 7 of  America's Got Talent.    
  • 1988 Olympics, won three gold medals and a silver.
  • 1988 retired from sports.
  • Sister-in-law and friend to track and field Olympic gold, silver, and bronze winner, Jackie Joyner Kersee
  • In addition to designing her own track suits, Flo Jo designed uniforms for the Indiana Pacers basketball team which were worn for the 1990 through 1997 seasons.
  • In 1992, established the Florence Griffith-Joyner Youth Foundation to help underprivileged children.  It is located in San Diego, California.  
  • In 1993, appointed co-chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness by President Bill Clinton.
  • Born on the 21st of December 1959, Florence Delorez Griffith-Joyner died in her sleep from asphyxiation during an epileptic seizure on the 21st of September 1998.



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4 comments:

  1. Firstly, growing up in the Eighties Florence was someone who always figured in pop culture, obviously most fittingly for her athletic success but also because at a time when athletes could be cookie cutter Flo Jo stood out for her fashion flare that matched skills on the running field. As a precursor to so many of today’s female sports people it’s so gratifying to know that the marketing folks got behind Flo and capitalised on her success with a doll...now that I know of her existence I really, really, want to add her to my collection, it looks so much like her (which can be a rarity when it comes to celebrity dolls). I’m so pleased you‪ found her as a personal talisman for your niece. Such a great gift!

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    1. Flo Jo remains a wonderful role model for girls involved in track. She was at the top of the sport, still has two records that have not been broken, was gorgeous and fashionable. It helps that the doll actually looks like her. I hope you're able to find a Flo Jo. Currently they are reasonably priced on eBay.

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  2. Hi,

    Thank you for telling me about this wonderful lady, as I had never heard of her. I had no idea about her until I read this page. She sounds like quite the athlete, and quite the role model!

    Sincerely,
    Peppermint Snowdrift

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  3. You're welcome! I am delighted this post was informative for you. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!