Wilma Rudolph

by Alyssa from San Diego

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A hero is someone who inspires those around them; they do the difficult things no one else wants to do. Rudolph was willing to work hard in order to be successful. Wilma Rudolph is an African American woman born in Bethlehem, Tennessee; on June 23, 1940. She was infected with polio as a young child and it resulted in a metal brace around her leg. Polio left her leg paralyzed and doctors told her that she would never be able to walk. Wilma regained strength in her leg and eventually made it to the Olympics in Rome 1960, after years of hard work and dedication. Unfortunately, Wilma passed away in November 12, 1994; due to brain cancer. Wilma Rudolph is a hero because she is determined, resilient and inspirational.

( (ARHE Network))
( (ARHE Network))

Rudolph showed determination because she achieved everything she believed in. Doctors told her that she will never be able to walk, let alone run; "By the time she was 12, she had regained her ability to walk and took up athletics"( Olympic Movement). Wilma made sure she would walk, by secretly practicing and she proved the doctors wrong. She refused to let her disability stop her from doing what she set her mind to. She viewed this as a minor setback and not as a factor that determines her way of life. After becoming a track player, Rudolph came back home from one of her races: "'I discovered that bronze doesn't shine. So, I decided I'm going to try this one more time. I'm going to go for the gold'" (Gale). She was willing to put in the effort that others weren't willing to do. She pushed herself past her limits and strove for greatness. Unhappy with anything less than the best, Wilma wanted to win more than anything and her mind was set on the gold. Wilma didn't let anything get past her. Wilma's determination set her apart from every other competitor and it allowed her to be the hero she is.

Wilma displayed her resilience through her actions. Unfortunately, Rudolph was judged based on her brace, because it wasn't normal. "She hated the brace, because it was a visible sign that she had a physical problem, and she wanted to be like everyone else" (Notable Sports Figures Gale). She was stronger than what she believed to be, because she was able to fight off the lingering stares and whispers.Wilma didn't give in to the peer pressure and instead, used this obstacle to fuel her need to win. Wilma was unfortunate; "Almost every circumstance was stacked against Rudolph from the day she was born on June 23, 1940" (Great Women in Sports. Gale). Wilma was unlucky enough to be born with various problems right from the start, she faced many obstacles in life but she was able to face and overcome them. Wilma didn't let her problems stand in her way and she was able to push past it. She could've let her problems get to her, but she wouldn't be who she is today if she did. Instead, Wilma recoiled from her difficult life and she obtained a better one.

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Wilma Rudolph serves as an inspiration to many people throughout the world and allows them to achieve things in life. She didn't enjoy the fact that she was different than everybody else due to her brace; "This knowledge, and the desire to walk like everyone else, became a driving force in her life" (Gale). She made people view things in another way. Rudolph didn't dwell on the negativity, but instead she tried to find a way to make things better. She could've just given up before even trying.Wilma Rudolph is an inspiration to others because she gives people the faith that they can accomplish anything they believe in. Rudolph was in awe of how many people look up to her;"It's a good feeling to know that you have touched the lives of so many young people," the mother of four told the Chicago Tribune. "I tell them that the most important aspect is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself." ( Great Women in Sports. Gale). Wilma serves as role model to many kids in the world because she believed in herself when no one else would. Wilma Rudolph is an inspiration to others because she gives people the faith that they can accomplish anything they believe in.Wilma Rudolph has the power to achieve anything she sets her mind to and many people look up and admire her for her actions.

She was intent on putting in all her effort in order to succeed and she was able to bounce back up from any difficulties thrown her way. Wilma actions prove that she deserves the recognition she receives, from all the people that aspire to be like her. Wilma Rudolph is truly a hero based on her willingness to due anything in order to accomplish her task, her ability to recoil when facing a problem and her power to inspire.

Works Consulted

Cultural Expressions in the 1940s. Digital image. African American Odyssey, n.d. Web. 17 May


Olympic. "Wilma Rudolph Beats Polio To Become Olympic Champion - Rome 1960 Olympics."

YouTube. YouTube, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 05 May 2016.

Rhoden, William C. "Sports of The Times; The End Of a Winding Road." New York Times 19 Nov.          

1994.Biography in Context. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

Wilma Rudolph. Digital image. Wilma Rudolph. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May


"Wilma Rudolph." Great Women in Sports. Gale, 1996. Biography in Context. Web. 28 Apr. 2016

"Wilma Rudolph." Notable Sports Figures. Ed. Dana R. Barnes. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Biography in

Context. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

"Wilma RUDOLPH." Olympics. Olympic Movement, 2015. Web. 02 May 2016.  

Page created on 7/19/2016 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/19/2016 12:00:00 AM

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