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Wilma Rudolph 

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Name at Birth: Wilma Glodean Rudolph

 

Known As: Wilma Rudolph

 

Birthday: June 23, 1940 

 

Place of Birth: Tennessee USA

 

Died:  November 12, 1994

Best Known For: Being a triple gold Olympic winner

Wilma was often very sick as a child and at the age of four she was diagnosed with a serious illness called Polio which caused her hands and legs to stop working. She also had pneumonia and Scarlet Fever. Doctors told her parents that she would never walk again and that she may even die.  Although the odds were stacked against young Wilma she defied all odds and learnt to walk by the age of 12 but Wilma’s determination didn’t stop there! While at high school she excelled in sport and was particularly passionate about basketball and track & field (running).

 

Wilma trained extremely hard and with pure grit and determination, she made it to the 1960 Olympics! The amazing and tenacious Wilma Rudolph competed in 3 races and won gold in each one! She broke the Olympic record in the 200-meter dash and became the first female, American triple Olympic gold medal winner in track and field!

 

The girl who was told that she wouldn’t be able to walk, broke the Olympic world record in running!

 

Wilma said “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.”