FROM SICKLY CHILD TO OLYMPIC CHAMPION
Wilma Rudolph overcame long odds to become one of the world's most remarkable athletes. As we continue to celebrate National Women's History Month, let's find out what made her so special and how she continues to provide inspiration for runners across the world.
Rudolph was born in 1940 in Bethlehem, Tennessee, and weighed only four and a half pounds! Her home did not have electricity or running water, and she was the 20th of 22 children born to her father Ed across two marriages.
Rudolph had polio, scarlet fever, and pneumonia as a child. She even had to wear a brace on her left leg because of a deformity. After several years of sometimes painful treatments and therapy, Rudolph was able to take off the braces and walk by herself. Despite her obstacles, Rudolph was always determined to succeed.
One of her most famous quotes: "My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother."
HER DETERMINATION TO RUN
After quickly learning to walk, Rudolph started running, kept running, and got better and better. She also liked playing basketball, but track was her passion. That passion and her dedication led to her success in college at Tennessee State. She competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, and became the first woman to win three gold metals in one Olympics.
After the Olympics, Rudolph remained a public figure and was committed to guiding young athletes and improving the rights of African-Americans. She created the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to help athletes get additional support and opportunities. She helped mold many young athletes as the track coach at DePauw University in Indiana.
Rudolph died from brain cancer in 1994, but the Wilma Rudolph legacy carries on. She will always be remembered as an incredible athlete who was a powerful voice for so many. Plus, she still provides inspiration for runners today.
From the girl who was once unable to walk, to an Olympic champion.
Another story you would enjoy: National Women's History Month - 3 Surprising Things about Annie Oakle (mace.com)