Sports | East Orange (1962 – )
Joetta Clark Diggs is an Olympic track athlete who has made an indelible impact in sports and within the community. In her legendary 24-year career, the record-setting daughter of Jetta Clark and noted educator Dr. Joe Clark, the subject of the movie, Lean on Me, is an 11-time USA National Champion in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter categories.
As a high-school athlete, the Columbia High School graduate never lost an 800-meter race in high school and is the only athlete in New Jersey to win the all-groups title for four straight years; she still holds the state’s 800-meter outdoor record.
Clark Diggs was a nine-time NCAA champion and All-American at the University of Tennessee. She represented the U.S. at the 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic games. From 1979 until her retirement in 2000, Clark Diggs competed in 20 USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships and five Olympic Trials. During her career, Clark Diggs ranked among the top 10 Americans for more than 21 years. From 1991 until 1998, she was ranked among the top 10 in the world; she ranked fourth in the world in 1998.
She was victorious in five of her last eight Trials she raced in and was in the national championship race in 18 of the last 19 years she competed. In addition, she has set World and American records, captured World Championship medals and served as the Captain of the Women’s USA Team in 2000.
Clark Diggs retired from competition in 2000 and established a career as a motivational speaker, businesswoman, author and television personality. As an advocate for children’s health and wellness, she established the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation in 2002 to promote involvement with physical activities for girls and boys in grades K-12. The Foundation is committed to teaching good health and a positive work ethic, focusing on the correlation between achievement in academics and athletics. The Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation has served more than 50,000 children in New Jersey.
In 2009, she authored her first book Joetta’s “P” Principles For Success: Life Lessons Learned From Track & Field. The acclaimed book has been considered a tremendous resource to both corporate executives and for children. He awards include induction into the USA Track & Field and the University of Tennessee halls of fame, and being named Star-Ledger Women’s Athlete of the Century. In addition, she is a Board Member of Raritan Valley Community College. Clark Diggs is married to Ronald Diggs; they have one child.
In 2000, Joetta, her younger sister, two-time Olympian Hazel, and their sister- in-law, five-time Olympian Jearl Miles-Clark, made Olympics history when they all participated in the 800-meter run. Joetta’s brother, J.J. Clark, coached the trio.