"FloJo," 1959-1998

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You always knew it was FloJo, first by the way she looked, then by the way she ran. Blazing down the track in incandescent purples, outrageously muscled legs churning, six-inch fingernails knifing through the air, Florence Griffith Joyner was the world's fastest woman, and one of its flashiest too. When Griffith Joyner died Monday of an apparent heart seizure at age 38, she still held world records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, still had the medals -- three golds and a silver -- that she won at the summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988. She also still had what track stars so rarely achieve these days -- a place in the national consciousness. Even President Clinton -- who certainly had a lot on his mind Monday -- somehow found time to remember her as one of this century's most prominent female athletes. "We were dazzled by her speed, humbled by her talent and captivated by her style," he said. "Though she rose to the pinnacle of the world of sports, she never forgot where she came from."