Joetta Clark Diggs
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing  United States
Pan American Junior Athletics Championships
Gold medal – first place 1980 Sudbury 800 metres
World Indoor Championships
Bronze medal – third place 1993 Toronto 800 metres

Joetta Clark Diggs (née Clark, born August 1, 1962, in East Orange, New Jersey) is a retired American track and field champion, specializing in middle distance running. She ran for more than 28 consecutive years never missing an indoor or outdoor season, with her races being in the 800 meters and 1500 meters. A 4-time Olympian in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000,[1] she competed in every outdoor USA Championships or Olympic trials between 1979 and 2000, winning five outdoor championships.[2] Indoors, she was in the national championship race in 18 of the last 19 years, winning seven times.[2] Clark Diggs was ranked in the top 10 in the world since 1991. Moreover, in 1998 at age 36, she was ranked number four in the world. This was her best ranking out of six such appearances.[3]

Coached by Terry Crawford at the University of Tennessee, Clark Diggs left Knoxville with nine collegiate titles (including relays) and a degree in public relations.

Clark Diggs was coached by her brother, J.J. Clark, who is the former women's coach at the University of Tennessee. J.J. also coached two other 800m runners: his wife, Jearl Miles Clark, and his younger sister, Hazel Clark. Hazel, Jearl and Joetta were all ranked #1 in America at one point in time. This Clark Team is known as the First Family of Track & Field because of their 800m dominance. At the 2000 Olympic Trials the family pulled off a remarkable sweep of the three Olympic qualifying positions with Hazel winning, Jearl second and Joetta making her final Olympic team at age 38 in third. She was the second oldest female Olympic track team member that year and the fifth oldest of all time.[4] She was the team captain in 2000.[5][6] She is the oldest ever to qualify in a track running event.

Later she added a graduate degree in recreation administration. Like her father, educator Joe Louis Clark did, she now works the lecture circuit.

Personal life

Raised in the South Ward of Newark, New Jersey, she lived there during the 1967 riots.[7] Living in South Orange, New Jersey, she attended Columbia High School, where she started her career in track and field, winning the state Meet of Champions in all four years.[8]

She has a husband, Ronald Diggs, who is a businessman, and a daughter, Talitha LaNae Clark Diggs, who was the 2014 USATF | Hershey National Champion in the long jump and 2019 Pennsylvania State Champion at 200 and 400 meters as a high school junior.[9]


She added a graduate degree in recreation administration.

In June 1997, she was appointed by a Governor as one of eight commissioners of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, where she is responsible for helping to ensure that the Meadowlands Sports Complex continues to serve as a national and international model for sports, racing entertainment and exposition industries.[10]

Clark Diggs was chosen as Sports Illustrated Hometown Hero for her work with youth, and in 1998 she also received the Visa Humanitarian award for her involvement with children.[11] In October, Clark Diggs received the New Jersey Pioneer Women of the 90s Award. Moreover, because of her longevity, and consistency, she is considered by sports enthusiasts as "America's most successful middle distance runner" ever.

A motivational and personal inspiration speaker, Clark Diggs is the daughter of Jetta Clark and noted educator Dr. Joe Clark. Joe Clark was the subject of the movie Lean on Me. Clark Diggs has continued to use her talents and experiences in sports, marketing, consulting and public speaking to provide services to her community, state and nation. As President of Joetta Sports & Beyond, LLC, Clark Diggs delivers messages of health, fitness and empowerment to corporations, colleges, medical programs and civic organizations on the lecture circuit. She is the author of Joetta's "P" Principles for Success, Life Lessons Learned From Track & Field[12][self-published source] and the executive director of the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation, which promotes involvement with physical activities for school-aged children and provides opportunities for children in the sports and entertainment industry.[13]



  1. ^ "Joetta Clark-Diggs". Olympics at Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "USA Track & Field – USA Outdoor Track & Field Champions". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  3. ^ [dead link]
  4. ^ "T&FN: Youngest & Oldest U.S. Olympians". Archived from the original on 19 January 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ Duffy, Bob (September 23, 2000). "HALF TIME FOR CLARK FAMILY IN THESE GAMES, THE 800 METERS IS THEIR SHOW". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on April 18, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Berkowitz, Bonnie (June 24, 2000). "Clark Family Sweeps to Sydney; Clark-Diggs Edges Silver Spring's Rainey Valmon for 3rd". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Drysdale, Neil (August 27, 2000). "Sister Act has unhappy script as driven Clark leans too heavily on daughters". Scotland on Sunday. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Leach, Melinda Stivers. "Her running outdistanced the arts", Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 1980. Accessed August 3, 2019. "When Joetta Clark entered Columbia High School here four years ago, she was faced with a monumental decision: to pursue a running career or one equally as promising in either dance or piano.... 'I don't think the athletes should be used as bait. It's said. The government has never supported us, so I don't think we ought to be used,' the articulate South Orange resident said."
  9. ^ "Talitha Diggs".
  10. ^ Longman, Jere (July 24, 2000). "OLYMPICS; 1-2-3: Clark, Miles-Clark and Clark-Diggs". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  11. ^ "Leaders for Life program features former Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs". 14 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  12. ^ Joetta Clark Diggs (2 December 2009). Joetta's P Principles for Success: Life Lessons Learned from Track & Field. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-1-4653-2691-1.
  13. ^ "SJ Magazine: Ten Questions with Joetta Clark Diggs". SJ Magazine. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  14. ^ "USATF – Hall of Fame". Retrieved 31 October 2015.