Already fast at early age, Florence Griffith finished fourth in the 200 m at the inaugural World Championships in 1983. The following year, she gained much more attention, though mostly because of her extremely long and colourful fingernails rather than her silver medal in the 200 m.
She stunned the world when she - known as a 200 m runner - ran a new 100 m World Record of 10,49 in the quarter-finals of the US Olympic Trials. Many later suggested the wind meter in the stadium malfunctioned during the race, but the record was recognised.
Now known as "Flojo", Griffith Joyner was the big favourite for the titles in the sprint events at the 1988 Summer Olympics. In the 100 m, she ran a (wind assisted) 10,54 in the final, beating her nearest rival Evelyn Ashford by 3 tenths of a second. In the 200 m, she set a new World Record of 21,34, winning by 4 tenths. Griffith Joyner was also a runner in both the 4 x 100 m and 4 x 400 m relay teams. She won a gold medal in the former event, and a silver in the latter, her first international 4 x 400 m relay.
She retired the next season. In 1998, she died in her sleep of cavernous angioma.