Friday, February 28, 2014

BHM2014 - Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph was born on June 23, 1940 in Bethlehem, Tennessee, one of eight children to parents Ed and Blanche Rudolph.  Wilma weighed only four-and-a-half pounds at birth and was born with polio and left for a time with only the use of her right leg because of it.  She suffered from double pneumonia twice and scarlet fever once before she was four years of age.  For two years, her mother brought her weekly to Meharry Medical College in Nashville for treatment.  Her family also massaged her leg at least four times daily.  From age five to nine, she wore a metal brace to correct her polio condition.  

By the age of 16, she was a bronze medalist in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 4X100 m relay. In 1959, Rudolph won a gold medal in the 4×100 m relay at Pan American Games and an individual silver in the 100 m.  Wilma Rudolph entered the Rome 1960 Olympics and became the first American woman to win three gold medals: in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the 4 x 100 meter relay.  She also set world records for all three events.  Rudolph retired from track competition in 1962 at age 22.

On May 27, 1963, she graduated from Tennessee State University and was offered a job as an elementary teacher and girl’s track coach at her old school, Clark Elementary School.   Wilma Rudolph was named United Press Athlete of the Year in 1960, the AP Woman Athlete of the Year in 1960 and 1961, and inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.  She died in Clarksville in 1994 at the age of 54, a victim of both throat and brain cancer.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...