Sometimes reality television isn’t trash TV.
Just ask track and field Olympian Al Joyner, who recently received a gift from Rene Nezhoda, the host of the A&E show “Storage Wars.” The athlete would tell you he just made a new friend with one after the star gave him a treasured and heartfelt “blessing.”
Joyner received a piece of sports memorabilia from the television personality that originally belonged to his late wife, Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith Joyner, and developed a friendship based on their Christian faith.
Nezhoda told TMZ he recently bought the memorabilia from George, the owner of Bargain Hunters thrift store in Poway, California, who says in 2014 he acquired a storage locker in San Diego that once belonged to Flo-Jo.
The lot reportedly included some of her “rare photos and magazines” featuring the history-making Olympian, one of her track satin NBC Olympics jackets, a batch of autographed Barbie dolls, and a pair of the cleats she wore when she set Olympic and world records for the 100 meters and 200 meters, respectively at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and secured three medals for the United States. (Earlier that summer in the U.S. Olympic Trials Griffith Joyner had set the world record of 10.49 seconds in the 100 meters, a mark that still stands.)
The sneakers are a prize as they are also autographed and dated for the prestigious occasion.
Originally, Nezhoda planned to place items from the unit up for auction on eBay or another auctioning platform, Heritage Auctions. But said he would be open to selling some of the items directly to her family.
After the news of the newly found collection was made public, family members and friends of Flo-Jo started contacting him about arrangements to purchase the prized possessions. Her husband was one of them.
“I had like ten different family members contact me,” he shared in a video. “Probably people who weren’t family members, all kinds of craziness.”
Nezhoda opted to hold off on the eBay deal and make a deal with Joyner, 62, who in 1984 won an Olympic gold medal in the triple jump.
The husband met with the dealer in San Diego.
“I want to be very clear. This is not charity; I am making a profit. Al knows what I paid for it and he is the only person that knows what I paid for it,” Nezhoda stated. “I told him the profit I want to make. It’s like a track runner, you want to win.”
“We worked out a deal where I can give it back to Mr. Joyner. … Sometimes you don’t have to max out and do the right thing.”
Joyner said he was “very appreciative” of him working it out.
“Rene is great,” the husband said. “I know he is on a TV show and all that, but he really is a great guy and really warms my heart.”
Before hashing out the details, the two had breakfast and talked about the illustrious careers of both laurel-wearing champions.
One of the items Joyner said he was most excited about getting his hands on was Flo-Jo’s pink, yellow, white, and turquoise weight belt. Joyner said it was dear to him because she wore it when the two used to work out together.
In addition to getting her stuff, he got some of his. He also had a jacket from the 1988 Olympics, with his nickname monogrammed on it, “Sweet H2 Baby” that Florence got for him. He said he had not seen it in 36 years and that the chance purchase is “a blessing in disguise.”
Joyner died from a epileptic seizure in her sleep in 1998.
Haddish continued, “My goal with this film is making sure that younger generations know my ‘she-ro’ Flo-Jo, the fastest woman in the world to this day, existed.”
Joyner will serve as a producer and creative consultant on the project.
He said, “Working with Tiffany has been a great pleasure — she is incredibly dedicated, focused, and committed to portraying the spirit of Florence accurately, whose legacy of making a difference in the world will live on for generations to come.”
“I hope that this film touches all who see it and inspires people to BE the change the world so desperately needs right now!”