Joyce Elena Oladapo

Gold medallist in the long jump event at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland. Bronze medallist at the 1981 Junior Championships in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Her personal best jump was 6.75 m ( 22 ft 1+12 in) achieved in September 1985 in London where She was born in 1964.

At school Joyce’s P.E teacher said she had a talent in athletics and she joined in all of the events, even throwing. Her teacher took her to Crystal Palace one day and introduced her to some of the coaches. Initially she was very nervous as she didn’t know anyone. When Joyce finally made friends, the team captain introduced her to the coach she would be trained by for her whole competing career, which she started aged 15 and finished at 37. “The coach made a big impact on my life and the person I am today. He was like a father figure.” Joyce said.

Joyce chose to focus on the long jump event and was very nervous of the attention that sprinting got and then under the encouragement of her team mates, eventually started beating the men. She was particularly inspired by Carl Lewis who won golds across sprinting and jumping at numerous Olympics. Her nemesis was injury though. Joyce would train all winter and then when she started competing, was often injured. She found that swimming helped her. So when she won her gold, she actually did it in one jump as she couldn’t do too many heats due to the risks of injury.

1986 Commonwealth – Edinburgh Long Jump Women Joyce Oladapo 6m 43cm