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Hopefully, the stories of the outstanding performances in these Olympic Games will prevail and overshadow the darkness of drugs.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is an extreme optimist: Yes, her long-standing heptathlon record will fall someday. And yes, the action on the track will drown out all the doping noise.
She's just wired for positivity, especially when it comes to her affection for track and field, which has fallen under a dark cloud heading into the Rio de Janeiro Games because of the Russian doping scandal.
"I am always at a loss for words when the drug stories replace the great human interest stories," Joyner-Kersee said. "Hopefully, the stories of the outstanding performances in these Olympic Games will prevail and overshadow the darkness of drugs."
She'd like nothing more than to see someone break her world record of 7,291 points _ a mark that's stood since the 1988 Seoul Olympics. No one has come within 200 points of that lofty score.
"I believe it will take someone with the combination of great jumping and sprinting ability with a tough mental outlook," Joyner-Kersee said of beating her mark. "I also believe timing is everything in the multis."
AP photo/Michel Lipchitz
These days, Joyner-Kersee stays plenty busy running her foundation based in East St. Louis and supporting causes near to her. She recently became a spokesperson Comcast Corporation's Internet Essentials program, which helps get high-speed Internet to students and families with low income. Internet Essentials is available in nearly 48,000 schools spanning more than 5,000 school districts.
"I feel so fortunate for what I've been able to accomplish in this life," she said. "If I can help more families cross the digital divide and see what the Internet can do for them, then who knows? Maybe one of our next Olympic athletes will say that they got inspired to compete by a video they saw on the Internet."