1968 Olympian Ninja Jorgensen Passes Away

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Oct. 05, 2017, 12:39 p.m. (ET)

Ninja Jorgensen with 1967 Pan Am Games Team
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.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 5, 2017) – USA Volleyball is saddened to learn of the passing of 1968 U.S. Olympian Ninja Jorgensen on Tuesday.

Ninja JorgensenJorgensen, 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.