1968 U.S. Olympian Ninja Jorgensen passed away last Tuesday. She was 77.
Jorgensen, who was the 2008 recipient of the USA Volleyball Flo Hyman All-Time Great award, was born in Los Angeles, California in 1940. She began playhing volleyball at Occidental College in 1960, and 5 years later she began a 9-year run on the U.S. Women’s National Team. That included as a starting middle at the 1968 Olympic Games.
She also played on the 1967 and 1970 World Championship teams, the 1967 and 1971 Pan American Games teams, and for the 4-time USA Volleyball National Champion Long Beach Shamrocks. Her biggest international result was a gold at the 1967 Pan American Games, and individually she was named the 1963 National Amateur Athletic Player of the Year.
Outside of her playing career, Jorgensen spent 36 seasons as the girls’ volleyball coach at Glendale High School until retiring in 1998. She also served as an NCAA official, and an Olympic Player representative from 1984 to 1988.
The United States lost all 7 of its matches at the 1968 Olympic Games, which were just the 2nd that included the sport, but Jorgensen ranked 2nd on that American Team with 50.5 sideouts and 23.5 points in the tournament.
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