Standing Since '88

Paris is known for many things — food, art, architecture. Its most recognizable feature, though, is the Eiffel Tower.

In the early summer of 1888, despite all the criticism and doubt the project received, the 300m-tall (or 984ft-tall) structure opened to the public, surpassing the Washington Monument as the tallest human-made structure in the world. The monument, which was originally supposed to be dismantled after the 1989 World's Fair, held that title for 41 years before it was taken by the Chrysler Building in New York. Now, the building stands immortal.

Almost exactly 100 years later, at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, 26-year-old Jackie Joyner-Kersee became the first-ever heptathlon contestant to surpass 7,000 points. That world record, which solidified Joyner-Kersee as one of the greatest female athletes of all time, still stands today.

In this week's episode of The Podium: An NBC Olympic and Paralympic podcast, titled "Standing Since '88," host Zora Stephenson covers the impact that world records have with Joyner-Kersee ahead of an Olympic competition in which Joyner-Kersee's own may finally be challenged; Anna Hall — a 23-year-old American heptathlete, first-time Olympian and mentee of Joyner-Kersee herself — has been chasing the title for years. Hall's personal best is 6,988 — 303 points behind Joyner-Kersee's record.

“Who can decide when something should come down? Who can decide when the world record will be broken? When it's time, it's time," Joyner-Kersee said. "When you talk about the strength of the Eiffel Tower being there, the strength of the athletes that's competing, the versatility of it, the height of it and the beauty of it and the grace that you see on the athletic field — it's the combination of them both, and how we should just embrace them and celebrate them, as long as they're still both standing in our existence.”

Hear all of that and more in Episode 6 of The Podium.

Episodes of The Podium release weekly in the lead-up to Paris, then every day once the Olympic flame is lit at the Opening Ceremony.

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