Wilma Rudolph

by Madison from Columbus, Indiana

"100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in." - Wayne Gretzky
Wilma Rudolph (
Wilma Rudolph (

My hero is Wilma Rudolph. She was an American track and field athlete who overcame many childhood illnesses. She went on to win many sprint and relay events and Olympic medals.

Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940 in Clarksville, Tennessee. The twentieth of twenty-two children, she was born with polio and suffered from pneumonia and scarlet fever as a young child. Her family was behind her all the way.

She was called the "Tennessee Tornado." Soon she was running and winning races. "She went to a training camp at Tennessee State University, which she was invited to by Ed Temple, who coached numerous track and field athletes and became Wilma's most important professional influence."

After Wilma retired from her career as a runner in 1962, she became a second grade teacher and a high school coach. She remained a much-admired celebrity, but to prove that there was more to her than just running, she started a company called Wilma Unlimited. This gave her opportuniies to travel, lecture and support causes she believed in. Later she founded the non-profit Wilma Rudolph Foundation to nurture young athletes and to teach them that they, too, can succeed despite all odds against them. The story of all she overcame in order to win at the Olympics has inspired thousands of young athletes, especially women and myself. Wilma Rudolph died in 1994.

She has inspired me because she overcame many obstacles in her life. She played basketball when she was younger and I play basketball now. That is why she is my hero!!

Page created on 1/25/2008 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/25/2008 12:00:00 AM

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