Ninja Jorgensen (third from left, back row) pictured with the 1967 U.S. Pan American Games Team one year before being selected to the 1968 U.S. Olympic Women's Volleyball Team.
1968 Olympian Ninja Jorgensen Passes Away
BY BILL KAUFFMAN (BILL.KAUFFMAN@USAV.ORG) | OCT. 05, 2017, 12:39 P.M. (ET)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 5, 2017) – USA Volleyball is saddened to learn of the passing of 1968 U.S. Olympian Ninja Jorgensen on Tuesday.
Jorgensen, the 2008 Flo Hyman All-Time Great Player recipient, enjoyed international and domestic success as a player. She competed on the U.S. Women’s National Team for nine years from 1965 until 1973. Jorgensen was a starting middle on the 1968 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team.
Jorgensen represented the USA at the 1967 and 1970 World Championships, and the 1967 and 1971 Pan American Games. She earned a silver medal at the 1967 World Championship in Tokyo, along with a gold medal at the 1967 Pan American Games.
Within USA Volleyball, Jorgensen played for the Long Beach Shamrocks, which won four consecutive national championships starting in 1967. She was a six-time Open Division All-American and a Senior All-American representing Alice Sanchez’s Mavericks. In 1963, Jorgensen was honored with the National Amateur Athletic Player of the Year.
Jorgensen’s path into volleyball started in 1960 as a student at Occidental College, and one year later she began teaching at Glendale High School. She also served as the school’s girls’ volleyball coach for 36 seasons before stepping down in 1998. Two years later she retired from her teaching post.
Following her playing career, Jorgensen worked as an NCAA official, a clinician and as a member of the Olympic Spirit Team. She served as Olympic Player representative from 1984 until 1988. In 2015, Jorgensen was named to the City Section Hall of Fame representing athletes from Los Angeles as part of the third year of inductees.
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Former Olympian, Glendale High volleyball coach Jorgensen passes away
Charles RichContact Reporter
Ninja Jorgensen, a former United States Olympic women’s volleyball player and Glendale High volleyball coach, died Tuesday, according to usavb.org. She was 77 and the cause of death wasn’t known.
Jorgensen, who was born July 6, 1940 in Los Angeles, had a distinguished national and international resume that included playing on the 1968 United States Olympics volleyball team. The United States finished eighth in the event in Mexico.
Jorgensen, who graduated from Los Angeles High in 1957 and attended Occidental College, coached girls’ volleyball at Glendale from 1962-98, She was also a physical education teacher at the school until she retired in early 2000.
“She was a remarkable person and she had quite a presence,” said Glendale co-athletic director Pat Lancaster, who was a colleague of Jorgensen’s for about 10 years. “She was a pioneer for girls’ sports and her influence was something else.”
Lancaster said Jorgensen was inspirational in building up girls’ sports, which included advancing their opportunities in sports by organizing athletic teams at Glendale and leagues for them to participate in.
She also coached swimming, basketball and badminton at Glendale.
The CIF Southern Section did not recognize girls' sports until 1973, when playoff competition began. Prior to that, girls' sport teams competed in local leagues.
Jorgensen competed for the United States at the 1967 and 1970 World Championships, in addition to the 1971 Pan American Games. Jorgensen was awarded a silver medal at the 1967 World Championships in Tokyo before earning a gold medal at the 1967 Pan American Games. She was a member of the U.S. national team from 1965-73.
Jorgensen was tabbed a National Amateur Athletic Player of the Year and a U.S. Volleyball Assn. All-American in 1963
Jorgensen served as an NCAA official after her playing career ended and was an Olympic Player representative from 1984-1988. Jorgensen was bestowed with Los Angeles City Section Hall of Fame recognition in 2015.