Jackie Joyner-Kersee broke her own world record in the heptathlon at the Olympics Saturday, with 7,291 points.
She clinched the medal with a personal-best 2 minutes, 8.51 seconds in the final event, the 800 meters.Joyner-Kersee's old record was 7,215, set at the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier this year.
Joyner-Kersee kicked off the final day of her bid to become the greatest woman athlete in history by breaking her own Olympic heptathlon long-jump record Saturday.
On her first attempt, she leaped 23 feet, 101/4 inches to lead all competitors in the seven-event competition.
Joyner-Kersee's long jump performance smashed the mark of 23-91/2 she had set at the 1987 U.S. Track and Field Championships at San Jose, Calif. She also holds the American record of 24-51/2, set during the 1987 Pan American Games.
This was the fourth-best performance ever by an American. Joyner-Kersee holds at least the top 14 marks ever by an American.
After a somewhat disappointing javelin throw of 149-91/2, she had a total of 6,304 points, 912 shy of the world record, heading into the final event, the 800 meters, which she then ran in her personal best for the record.
Joyner-Kersee's javelin throw was good for third place in the event behind Switzerland's Corinne Schneider and Natalia Choubenkova.
With her husband and coach Bob Kersee shouting encouragement from the stands, Joyner-Kersee scratched on her third and final attempt, throwing up her arm and shaking her head in disgust.
But Kersee was delighted with the long jump, because he was hoping she would soar 23-51/4.
"We decided that if we could get that, then it would be just on to the javelin," he said. Joyner-Kersee skipped the remaining two jumps to concentrate on the javelin and the 400 meters, the final two events.
On Friday, Joyner-Kersee injured the knee she uses on her takeoff in the long jump. It was a minor injury that cleared up by the time she competed in the 200-meter dash, and on Saturday, Kersee said, "Her leg seems fine."
Nevertheless, on Friday she lowered her expectations for a world record in the heptathlon, setting her sights instead on the gold medal that eluded her in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
"I am concentrating on winning," Joyner-Kersee said after the first day of competition. "Coming out winning is the only thing. The world record is not important."
In spite of her brief battle with pain, the 26-year-old from East St. Louis, Ill., was far in front. She had the fastest times in the 100-meter hurdles and the 200-meter dash, equalled the top high jump mark, and turned in the second-best mark in the shot put.
Joyner-Kersee finished the first day of the competition with 4,264 points, the second-highest one-day total of her career. She had a total of 4,367 at the same point when she set the world record of 7,215 points in the U.S. Olympic trials in July.
Joyner-Kersee, the only woman ever to surpass the 7,000-point plateau - she's done it four times - posted one personal best as she appeared certain of clearing 7,000 again.