In St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, on June 23, 1940, a little girl by the name of Wilma Rudolph was born. She was a sickly child struck with polio. Rudolph had to wear a brace on her left leg. Through intense physical therapy, she was able to over come her disability. She grew up in the South and went to an all black school called Burt High School where she played on the basketball team. She had a talent in running and was recruited by the Tennessee State University track coach.
Wilma Rudolph qualified for the Olympic Games in Australia while she was still in high school! At the age of 16, she won the bronze medal in the sprint relay. Later, in 1960, Wilma qualified for the Olympic Games again held in Rome, Italy. She set a world record of 11.3 seconds in the 100 meter dash semifinal, and went on to win the 100 meter dash final with 11.0 seconds. Wilma participated in many events and set/broke many records. She became the first African American women to win 3 gold medals at a single Olympic Game.
Wilma Rudolph was remembered as the fastest woman in track. She died on November 12, 1994 near Nashville, Tennessee after losing her battle to brain cancer.
“I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.” – Wilma Rudolph
By Whitney Martin