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Statue Erected in Memory of Joyner

May 23, 1999

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ The husband and 8-year-old daughter of the late Florence Griffith Joyner helped unveil a statue in memory of the three-time Olympic gold medalist.

``Seeing it and feeling it, I almost think it’s her. (But) all I have is her spirit,″ Al Joyner, accompanied by daughter Mary, said Friday.

The statue depicts the world’s fastest female sprinter with hands raised in victory as she crossed the finish line in the 100 meters at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Commissioned by Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, where Griffith Joyner once was a patient, the statue is meant as a permanent tribute to a woman who symbolized ``grace, integrity and originality,″ said Barry S. Arbuckle, the medical center’s chief executive officer.

The statue was unveiled Friday, eight months to the day after the woman the world came to know as ``FloJo″ was found deadat age 38. She died at her Mission Viejo home in September of asphyxiation during an epileptic seizure.

Griffith Joyner won gold medals in the 100 and 200 and the 400-meter relay at Seoul.

Also Friday, 18-year-old Ashley Furst was named winner of a Griffith Joyner memorial scholarship.

Furst, a Laguna Hills High School senior, was last year’s Orange County champion in the 400 meters and boasts a 4.03 GPA. Furst met Griffith Joyner at an indoor track meet more than a year ago. Furst will attend Harvard in fall.

``FloJo is the standard, both as an athlete and as a human being, by which I measure myself,″ Furst said.

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