Expunge Flo Jo's sprint records
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I feel almost certain that I am not the only track and field enthusiast in the world who believes that it is time that the IAAF take a really good look at the world records for the women's 100 and 200 metres, which are both held in the name of the late Florence Griffith-Joyner (more popularly known as Flo Jo), with a view to expunging them.
I believe these marks should be expunged, as there are so many question marks and questionable variables surrounding Flo Jo's progression from a fairly pedestrian sprinter to 10.49 seconds in the 100 and 21.34 seconds in the 200.
When one considers that the previous world record for the women's 100 was 10.76 by the great, pure sprinter, Evelyn Ashford, one has to wonder how Flo Jo, a previously modest sprinter, was able to break the record by that wide margin.
Also very instructive is the fact that since the record was set in 1988, no woman has come anywhere near that time - not even the outstanding Shelly-Ann Fraser, the dynamic Carmelita Jeter, or even a drugged-up Marion Jones.
In the 200 metres, which was owned by the (then) East German woman for years, to go from Heike Drechsler's 21.71 seconds to Flo Jo's recorded 21.34 is mind-boggling.
Today, the top sprinters over the distance battle to break the 22-second barrier, but are getting no closer to Flo Jo's record. And there have been some good ones - Allyson Felix, the aforementioned Marion Jones, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Grace Jackson and Juliet Cuthbert, just to name a few.
I have no empirical evidence to back up my claim that Flo Jo's records appear tainted and should be expunged. But I can bet with a great degree of certainty that very few people alive today will live to see those times surpassed.
No verdict here, but a cautionary tale. Flo Jo died at age 38 reportedly of a seizure in her sleep.