Jordan was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to a mother from Italy and an African-American father. Claudia's parents met when her father was in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Brindisi, Italy. Claudia Jordan was a sprinter and earned all-state honors in track and field while in high school in Rhode Island. Claudia Jordan competed in three Junior Olympics and in college became an All-American sprinter in the 400-meter relay. In addition to the sprints she finished third in the long jump at the East Coast Invitational.