Six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee to be honored during Cal State L.A.’s 15th annual Billie Jean King and Friends fundraiser
Day-long celebration to include a silent auction, Community Tennis Clinic with Billie Jean King, and 2nd annual World Team Tennis Collegiate Tournament
Pasadena, CA – Hundreds of guests, including local dignitaries, world-renowned athletes, and student athletes, will be on hand Oct. 27 to honor Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee with the Joe Shapiro Humanitarian Award during Cal State L.A.’s 15th annual Billie Jean King and Friends gala.
The fundraiser will take place at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and will include a silent auction, dinner and program to ensure the continued support of athletics at Cal State L.A. (CSULA).
“We are delighted that Jackie Joyner-Kersee will be on hand at this year’s Billie Jean King and Friends Event to accept the 2012 Joe Shapiro Humanitarian Award,” said Dan Bridges, director of Intercollegiate Athletics at CSULA. “Jackie is a most deserving recipient because she has worked tirelessly over the last 15 years to enhance her community and provide life-changing opportunities for the children in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois, and beyond.”
In the morning, before the fundraiser begins, Cal State L.A. Athletics will host on campus a tennis clinic, as well as the second annual Billie Jean King World Team Tennis Collegiate Tournament. The clinic will begin at 8 a.m. on the tennis courts in the Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the tournament will begin at 10 a.m. King will interact with participants throughout the morning.
As an Olympian, Joyner-Kersee won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals. She took silver in the heptathlon at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, a gold medal in the heptathlon and gold in the long jump at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, and in 1992 in Barcelona, Spain, Joyner-Kersee captured another gold medal in the heptathlon and a bronze in the long jump. Her final medal came at the 1996 Atlanta Games where she took the bronze medal in the long jump.
Joyner-Kersee is recognized as one of the top female athletes of all time. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine named her the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century and she was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2004.
Joyner-Kersee is known worldwide for her philanthropic efforts. She established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, which provides youth, adults and families with athletic lessons and the resources to improve their quality of life. To date the foundation has raised more than $12 million.
About the Billie Jean King and Friends gala
Through King’s direct involvement with the annual fundraiser, to date the Billie Jean King and Friends event has generated more than $2.6 million for CSULA’s Athletics Scholarship Program and Women’s Tennis Team.
King, who is among CSULA’s most famous alumni, attended CSULA from 1961 to 1964 and played on Coach Joan Johnson’s team, the first women’s tennis coach at the University. King was named to the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1997, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the California State University system.
During her career, King won a total 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in doubles and 11 in mixed doubles. She won 20 of those at Wimbledon: six singles championships, 10 doubles titles and four mixed doubles crowns.
King has also been instrumental in raising awareness for social justice, change and equality. She spearheaded the fight for equality in women’s tennis in the 1970s and made a strong statement for women when she defeated Bobby Riggs in the infamous “Battle of the Sexes” match in 1973 before a record 50 million viewers on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
King established the Women’s Tennis Association, Women’s Sports Foundation and championed Title IX (the equal opportunity in education act based on gender) in 1972. She was also one of the founders of World Team Tennis in 1974.
In 2009, King was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, at the White House by President Barack Obama. She also has received the NCAA President Gerald R. Ford Award for her contributions to education and intercollegiate athletics. Life Magazine named King one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.”
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