Track and field Olympian Al Joyner was surprised this week after “Storage Wars” star Rene Nezhoda returned invaluable memorabilia that once belonged to his late wife, Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith Joyner.
Earlier this month, TMZ reported that Nezhoda purchased Flo-Jo’s precious memorabilia eight years ago after he acquired the track and field icon’s storage locker from a friend in the San Diego area. The repossessed storage unit cost Nezhoda “several thousand dollars,” too according to the publication. Flo-Jo’s legendary Olympic jacket and 1988 autographed track shoes were inside the unit, the same pair she wore after sweeping through the 100m and 200m dash at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The athlete won three gold medals that year for her stunning performance. Rare photos and autographed Flo-Jo Barbie dolls were also discovered in the lost locker.
After the story went viral, a number of Flo-Jo’s close relatives including Joyner, contacted the avid treasure hunter with the hope of buying back the star’s priceless memorabilia.
Within a matter of days, Joyner and Nezhoda struck a deal. The Bargain Hunters founder took viewers behind the scenes of his emotional interaction with Joyner on Youtube, where he told fans that although he made a smaller profit than what he originally paid for the athlete’s golden items, he was happy he did the right thing by giving back the family tangible memories of Flo-Jo’s historic legacy.
Joyner called it “a blessing in disguise.”
As the two chatted in a San Diego parking lot, the 62-year-old track and field coach gushed about having Flo-Jo’s weight belt back in his possession.
“That was something that we did together,” he said, noting how he helped the star to design the belt’s bright colors.
Upon Flo-Jo’s death in 1988, Al Joyner let his late wife’s storage lockers go, not realizing how many gems were still left inside. The record-setting sprinter passed away in her sleep after suffering from an epileptic seizure. Joyner said he knew he had to do something to get the star’s precious memorabilia back after the story went viral.
Nezhoda previously told TMZ that he was planning to sell the golden items on eBay or to a collectible auction house if no one from the family reached out.