Serena Williams, who was recently featured in Architectural Digest for her luxurious Miami, Florida, abode complete with trophy room and art gallery, took Black History Month up a notch by paying homage to a legendary Black athlete.
While lots of eyes were glued to the Super Bowl this past weekend or at least watching the commercials, the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion had an athletic agenda of her own. Serena Williams honored the late Florence Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo-Jo, a track and field legend known as the fastest woman of all time with still-standing world records in the 100- and 200-meter events, set in 1988. Not only was Joyner known for her undeniable talent and athletic capabilities, but her fashion made a statement just as much as her ability to outrun the competition with her sparkling outfits and customized asymmetrical one-legged jumpsuits, according to Vogue.
During the 2021 Australian Open, Williams channeled her inner Flo-Jo as she graced the court with an ‘80s-inspired hot pink, red and black color-blocked catsuit with one full-length leg-sleeve during her first-round match on Feb. 8, according to NBC Sports. Defeating her opponent Laura Siegemund, 6-1, 6-1 in a 56-minute victory was not the only thing that got the crowd talking.
“I was inspired by Flo-Jo, who was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete growing up,” Williams said during her post-game interview, reported by The Guardian. “Her outfits were always amazing. This year we thought, ‘What can we do to keep elevating the Serena Williams on the court?’ The Nike team actually thought of this design of inspiration from Flo-Jo. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so brilliant, so brilliant.’ That’s where we started. Obviously, we made some changes and tweaks to it. It became this”
“This year we thought of what can we do to keep elevating the Serena Williams on the court.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 8, 2021
Joyner was also honored by Beyoncé when she dressed as Flo-Jo for Halloween in 2018, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Joyner was known in pop culture for her bold, daring looks that she brought to the track including long acrylic nails and lipstick. The three-time gold medalist officially retired in 1989. She died in 1998 from suffocation due to an epileptic seizure in her sleep.