Aug. 7, 2012
UCLA Athletics continues its celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX with a series of profiles of UCLA's Title IX 40. This group of 40 Bruin women were game-changers in the Title IX era. Next up are two all-time greats in their respective sports, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Dr. Dot Richardson.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Track & Field (1981-85)/Basketball (1981-85)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (JJK) earned the title of "world's greatest female athlete" as she dominated the track & field events of the heptathlon and long jump from the mid-1980s into the late 1990s.
As a Bruin in the sport of track & field, she led UCLA to the 1982 and 1983 NCAA team titles, winning the heptathlon both years. She still holds the collegiate records and the top UCLA marks in the heptathlon (6,718 points) and long jump (23-9). As a Bruin women's basketball player, JJK was named one of the program's "15 Greatest Players" who was a four-year starter and is still listed among UCLA's all-time best in scoring, rebounding and assists.
In Olympic track & field competition, JJK earned six medals, including three gold. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, while still at UCLA, she won her first Olympic medal, a silver in the heptathlon. In 1988 at the Seoul Olympics, JJK earned her first gold medals in the heptathlon (7,291 world record) and long jump. At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, she won a second-straight gold medal in the heptathlon and a bronze medal in the long jump. In 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA, JJK could not complete the heptathlon because of a painful hamstring injury but came back to win a bronze in the long jump.
JJK won four World Outdoor titles, claiming gold in the long jump in 1987 and 1991 and gold in heptathlon in 1987 and 1993. She won national titles in the long jump nine times, in the heptathlon eight times and in the 100m hurdles in 1994. During her career at the USA Indoor Championships, she won the 60m hurdles title in 1992 and the long jump national crown in 1992, 1994, 1995.
The first woman ever to break 7,000 points in the heptathlon, JJK set the heptathlon world record three times and was also the former long jump world record holder (24-5.30). She was also a two-time 100m hurdle U.S. record holder, four-time U.S. long jump record holder, two-time U.S. 60m hurdles record holder and six-time and current U.S. indoor long jump record holder. She is the current U.S. indoor 50m hurdles (6.67), 55m hurdles (7.37) and 60m hurdles record holder. JJK was world-ranked three times at 100m hurdles, 11 times in the long jump (No. 1 three times) and 11 times in the heptathlon (No. 1 six times). On three different occasions (1986, 1987, 1994), she was the Track & Field News World Athlete of the Year and five times the top American (1986, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1994).
Following her retirement from the sport of track & field, JJK helped raise more than $12 million dollars to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation in her hometown of E. St. Louis, IL. Her other civic duties have included being chairperson of the St. Louis Sports Commission, and she is the co-founder of Jackie Joyner-Kersee racing (NASCAR). She was named the UCLA Alumnus of the Year in 2001 and was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2004 and the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996. Sports Illustrated recently named her the No. 1 Athlete of the Title IX Era.
Dr. Dot Richardson, Softball (1981-82-83)
One of the most recognizable names and faces in the sport of softball is Dot Richardson, a standout on UCLA's 1982 NCAA Championship team and two-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000).
Richardson was an All-American for the Bruins from 1981-83 and led UCLA in hits and batting average each season. She hit above .300 all three seasons, including a career-best .379 batting average in her first year as a Bruin in 1981. She posted an astounding walk-to-strikeout ratio, drawing 73 walks to just 16 strikeouts in three campaigns. Richardson was named to the All-College World Series team in 1982 as a shortstop when the Bruins won the team's first NCAA title and again earned All-College World series honors in 1983 when the Bruins finished in third-place. Also in 1983, Richardson earned the All-University Athlete Award, sharing the honor with Jackie Joyner. As a Bruin freshman and senior, she was also a member of the UCLA women's basketball team.
A member of the U. S. National team program from 1979-2000, Richardson won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, captaining the U.S. team and hitting the game-winning home run in softball's debut year as an Olympic sport. In 2000, she led the U.S. to a repeat gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games. Richardson represented the U.S. at five Pan American Games (1979, 1983, 1987, 1995, 1999) and four Women's World Championships (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994).
At the age of 13, Richardson became the youngest player in Amateur Softball Association (ASA) history to play in the ASA Women's Major Fast Pitch National Championship game. Richardson went on to become a 14-time ASA All-America selection. She earned seven ASA Best Defensive Player honors and three ASA National Championship Most Valuable Player awards. Following the 1996 campaign, Richardson was named the ASA Sportswoman of the Year.
Honored as the NCAA Player of the Decade for the 1980s, Richardson was the third Bruin softball player inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame (1996), and in 1999, her Bruin jersey #1 was retired. In 2006 she was enshrined in the ASA Hall of Fame.
While still playing softball, Richardson pursued a career in medicine. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Louisville in May of 1993 after previously obtaining a Master's degree from Adelphi and a B.S. degree from UCLA. She did her postdoctoral residence at USC/Los Angeles County Medical Center from July 1993 to June 1999 and for a year was an orthopedic sports medicine fellow at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, CA. Since October 2001, Dr. Richardson has been the director/medical director at the South Lake Hospital/USA Triathlon National Training Center in Clermont, FL.
Richardson is currently commissioner of the Profastpitch X-treme Tour, has co-authored her autobiography, Living the Dream and was Vice Chairman of The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.