As the Olympics dawn on a new era August 8, SheKnows took a look at the current world teams and the inspirational athletes from the past, and found numerous stories of inspiration that exemplify the Olympic spirit.

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Wheaties always inspires JKK

2. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Where Wilma Rudolph had to force her way onto a track team, Jackie Joyner-Kersee was one of the first children of Title IX.

She was 10 years old when the groundbreaking legislation was passed in 1972, mandating equal access to sports for men and women across the country.

Joyner-Kersee would go on to win six medals, three of them gold, in her esteemed career.

With all her accolades, it was actually her final Olympics that endeared her to millions.

She had just withdrawn from the heptathlon, being walked off the track by her coach-husband, Bob Kersee, and it appeared her Olympics were over.

Six days later, she emerged to compete in the long jump. In sixth place with one jump to go, Joyner-Kersee put all her weight on her painful foot and leapt to a bronze medal by a single inch.

Sports Illustrated would go on to anoint her the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century.

Up next...all the number 1s

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