MINNEAPOLIS, JULY 14 -- Jackie Joyner-Kersee is, without a doubt, the greatest athlete at the U.S. Olympic Festival. Today she performed in two events at the track and field competition. She ran the second leg on the winning North 4x100-meter relay team and she competed as an exhibition athlete in the high jump, clearing 6 feet 2, which would have won the event.

This speaks volumes about both the festival and Joyner-Kersee.

Despite its title as "Olympic," the festival is anything but. It's a national high school and college meet in most sports, with a few Olympians thrown in. Joyner-Kersee surveyed the list of athletes here for track and field and said, "I wish a few more of us were here."

To her, this is nothing more than a warm-up for the heptathlon at the much more important Goodwill Games in Seattle, which start Friday. In addition to the 4x100, she will compete in the 4x400-meter relay and in the javelin, again as an exhibition athlete, on Sunday.

So the world's greatest female athlete is here either passing a baton -- something she never does in competition anymore -- or competing as an athlete whose score doesn't count.

But she is here, which is more than can be said for most world-class U.S. track and field stars. They are running and making money in Europe or training on their own for the Goodwill Games, not lending their names to help sell tickets at the University of Minnesota track.

"If Jackie was in Europe, she'd be making a pretty penny right now," said her coach and husband, Bobby Kersee. "But if you support track and field, it shouldn't just be the money aspect. Men and women in the United States can find a way to support our Olympic festival."

Despite being slowed by a sore left hamstring this spring, Joyner-Kersee, 28, is every bit the star today she was two years ago, when she won gold medals in both the heptathlon and long jump at the Seoul Olympics. Kersee said he "backed her off" her training regimen in May, but now they are going full-speed ahead, and for Joyner-Kersee, that's fast.

Kersee, who constantly teases his wife in public about her performances and ability, said he would like to see Joyner-Kersee go after her own world record in the heptathlon at the Goodwill Games.

But, in his next breath, he talks about encouraging her to try for the world record she doesn't yet have in the long jump, or a total switch to the 400-meter hurdles, which she attempted last summer with moderate (for her) success.

"I'd hate to see if she ever worked on the long jump as much as she worked on the heptathlon," he said. "She says she could be the first 25-foot long jumper, and I think she could. If she spent the time in the long jump and in the two hurdles {100-meter and 400-meter} that she does in the heptathlon, Lord knows what she can do."

When people look back on track and field years from now, they very likely could be remembering Joyner-Kersee as the greatest woman athlete of all time. When asked how long she will continue to compete, Joyner-Kersee said, "All my life." And she didn't sound like she was completely joking.

"I haven't put a limitation to it," she said. "I definitely see myself going through 1992 and into the early part of 1993. As a person, if I set limits, I sometimes don't get beyond that point. I still like what I'm doing. I still like competing."

But the goals now become mental, not physical, for Joyner-Kersee. What more does she have to accomplish? She's done just about everything.

"Going into the Goodwill Games, this is the first time we go into an event where we don't really have a goal of something we haven't already accomplished," Kersee said, because his wife won the gold at the Games in 1986 in Moscow. "Now, going into track meets, we've realized we've accomplished these goals. She's chasing her own records."

Because this was a workout with an audience, not a real meet, Kersee didn't expect his wife to run her fastest or jump her highest.

"We're working on her technique now, not aggressiveness," he said. "That aggressiveness only comes when it's for the money."

Track and field no longer is an amateur sport, but he didn't mean cash as much as the prestige of beating all her top opponents when they are lined up against her.

She ran the relays here to get in shape for the running events of the heptathlon in Seattle. Why the high jump?

"Because I need the work, need to work on the approach and bar clearance," Joyner-Kersee said. "I have a tendency to just jump. I told Bobby I should really work over this bar. If I'm going to score over 7,300 {a world record} in the heptathlon, I need for the high jump to be on."

And the javelin?

"I want to throw it 150 feet or better," she said. "But I'm not going to be concerned with distance as much as proper technique. I want an easy throw."

A generalist who could be a wonderful specialist, Joyner-Kersee was asked to name her strongest single event.

Bobby Kersee shot right back with his answer, which must have been hers too.

"The heptathlon."

Notes: In the women's 100-meter hurdles, NCAA champion and two-time festival winner Lynda Tolbert of Ballou High and Arizona State finished second in 13.15 seconds to Candy Young of Hackensack, N.J., who ran 13.08.