And then last July she serenely took possession of the Goodwill Games heptathlon in Moscow with six heptathlon personal bests. She broke Sabine Paetz's world record by 202 points with 7,148. It was the first time Joyner had neared the personal goals that she and Kersee had set years before. "The few people we had told about my goals had listened politely, but in their hearts you could see they thought I was crazy," she says.
It was harder for some people to adjust to this new record than it was for her to set it. "Dwight Stones said, 'No way you're ever going to do that again,' " says Joyner. So she did it again, only better, four weeks later, with the 7,158 at the U.S. Olympic Festival in Houston. For those performances, Jackie won the prestigious Sullivan Award as the country's outstanding amateur athlete for 1986.
Now, with Jackie's continued work on the shot and javelin, Kersee foresees a score of 7,230. "Of course, goal number one is to be prepared to win the worlds in Rome in September and the Olympics in Seoul," he adds. "For that, the 800 is key. If she's prepared in the 800, she'd be doubly ready for the other events. Having a super event in reserve gives you a certain calm and causes a certain terror in your opponents. So this year, that's where the arguments are going to come. No more 2:14's."
Mary Decker Slaney's American record at 800 meters is 1:56.9. Kersee's goal is 2:03; Jackie's goal is 2:05. She has chosen it, she says, "because it's within the realm of possibility, and it would make me hard to beat."
And then she will be first, and a lady, and the final fulfillment of her mother's dream.