Former Olympic runner Joetta Clark Diggs outpaced the competition and carved a place in history with her sister and sister-in-law when the threesome made the U.S. Olympic track and field team in 2000. As an international track and field star and the daughter of outspoken, and noted former New Jersey educator Joe Clark, Clark Diggs is perhaps one of the best examples of how one makes a dream into a reality.
For Clark Diggs, 48, who is president and CEO of Joetta Sports & Beyond, L.L.C. and the executive director of an eponymous foundation, in Maplewood, N.J., motivational speeches and sharing her Olympic experiences with the world is only part of achieving both personal and professional success. A native of East Orange, N.J., Clark Diggs was the keynote speaker at a recent small business and entrepreneurial luncheon in New Brunswick, N.J. where she not only touted her new book, Joetta’s “P” Principles for Success, but also offered convincing words of encouragement to those hoping to start and maintain a business. “Everyone has dreams and everyone should dream,” she said. “But dreams are more fantasy than reality. It’s when you start working and taking action that a dream becomes a goal.”
At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Clark Diggs, along with her younger sister Hazel and sister-in-law Jearl Miles Clark, became the only sister act to sweep the 2000 Olympic Trial 800 meters event. As a result of the history making feat and several other awards, including championship wins at the NCAAA and the Millrose Games, Clark Diggs was accepted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2009.
She said one of her fondest moments in a stellar track career was being named as the top high school prospect in the country back in the late 1970’s by Sports Illustrated magazine. At the time, she beat out other notable contenders including Jackie Joyner, Hershel Walker and Patrick Ewing. She added that making track and field a family affair also ranks near the top of her list of utopia. “Making the team with my sister-in-law and being coached by my brother made everyone, especially my parents, very happy,” she said.
As a businesswoman and entrepreneur, Clark Diggs is not complacent to just sit back and ride the wave of her former success as an Olympian. Instead, she parallels the two and said the elements that make an excellent sportsman are similar to those of a savvy businesswoman. “Finding your purpose, being prepared, having patience, getting perturbed and persevering are important elements to achieving both personal and professional success,” she said.