Wilma Rudolph

by Haley & Allie from Hixson, Tennessee

Wilma Rudolph Tennessee Hero

Wilma Rudolph was born on June 23, 1940 St. Bethlehem, Tennessee. Wilma was a sickly child and had to wear a leg brace. She grew up when the South was segregated and it was difficult for her to get good medical care. Her mother had to drive great distances to get her medical treatment. The doctors told her she would probably never walk again.

Wilma attended a segregated high school. She played some basketball and proved that she could not only walk but run too. She joined the track and field team and was recruited for the Olympic team to represent the U.S. She won three gold medals.

"While still in high school, Rudolph qualified for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. At the age of 16, she was the youngest member of the U.S. team and won a bronze medal in the sprint relay event. After finishing high school, Rudolph enrolled at Tennessee State University where she studied education. She also trained hard for the next Olympics."

In the early 1960s Wilma Rudolph worked as a teacher and a track coach. She wrote an autobiography called Wilma 1977 about her life. Her book was later turned into a television film. In the 1980s, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and established the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to promote amateur athletics. "Rudolph died on November 12, 1994, near Nashville, Tennessee, from brain cancer."

Wilma Rudolph demonstrated the characteristics of a hero by her determination not to give up. She struggled with disabilities early in life but didn't let them get her down. She was a very honest person who worked hard to overcome great obstacles. She did her best to win the gold medals for her country. Wilma also gave back to her community through her kindness and generosity as a teacher and coach and with her foundation. She is an inspiration to all young people to never give up.

Page created on 12/3/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 8/22/2021 5:11:08 AM

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