Olympic Gold Medalist, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Reflects on Prince
Getty Images

Jacqueline “Jackie” Joyner-Kersee may have arguably been one of the greatest female athletes, but she remembers Prince, as a great in the music world. “When I first heard the news, I was in disbelief,” says the Olympic Gold Medalist. “I had a knot in my stomach. I didn’t know him personally, but he had an impact on my life and my generation. Prince was a brilliant musician and fashion icon.”

A Rare Prince Interview From the ESSENCE Archives

“Many peope love his song ‘Purple Rain,’ but I love ‘diamonds and pearls,’ she tells ESSENCE, “When I think of diamonds and pearls [I’m reminded that] they are the seeds of the best of what we have to offer. To see a diamond in the rough and allow that diamond to shine is awesome. We are all diamonds and pearls.”

Loading the player...

‘ESSENCE Live’ Honors the Life & Legacy of Prince

Like the rest of the world, Joyner-Kersee is mourning the loss of the musical legend, who died yesterday. “I was hoping it wasn’t true. I knew he was sick, so I was hoping for the best. He’s another iconic inspirational great figure that we lost too soon.”

WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.