Wilma Rudolf

by Jill from Green Middle School, Ohio

Wilma Rudolf, an Olympic track star, was a role model to many. Behind her dark skin and her shoulder-length wiry hair was a dedicated and determined athlete.

Being the twentieth of twenty-two children wasn’t the least of Wilma Rudolf’s concerns. Ms. Rudolf was born with polio and suffered from pneumonia and scarlet fever as a child. These diseases all contributed to make her very weak. However, her loving family provided her with medical treatment four times a day. Wilma Rudolf was not ashamed to ask for help, and she was also smart enough to admit that she needed medical attention. Many athletes are too afraid to hurt their pride to admit that they are hurt, but not Ms. Rudolf. She also never gave up, no matter how hopeless and painful the therapy was. She was very persistent, and that is one of the most important characteristics of a true hero.

However, her goal seemed nearly impossible to complete. Many of Ms. Rudolf’s doctors believed that she would never walk, let alone compete in the Olympics. One factor of Wilma’s recovery that the doctor’s did not take into consideration was her faith. She always believed that she would make it to the Olympics. Not once did she think that something was impossible. In fact, her doctor’s discouraging words only made her try harder. Wilma Rudolf was an athlete in her heart and in her mind. All through the next year, her condition steadily improved. In high school, Wilma Rudolf was the leader of the track team. During her sophomore year, she went to the Olympics. Four years later, she fulfilled her goal for a second time in Rome. I admire Ms. Rudolf’s compassion and faith, for that was what made her the person that she was.

Consequently, Ms. Rudolf was very successful in both of her Olympic competitions. During her Olympic debut, she took home a bronze in her relay, having lost the 200 yard dash. However, at the Rome Olympics, she was the first American woman to take home three gold metals. When she returned home she won many awards, and was even honored with a parade. Throughout all of her recognition, she never became conceited in any way.

In short, Wilma Rudolf never stopped living her dream. After her career came to a close, she became a teacher and a coach. She is my hero because she was an athlete who worked hard to overcome physical complications, she was persistent in accomplishing her goal, and she accepted all of her recognition with integrity.

Page created on 3/1/2001 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 3/1/2001 12:00:00 AM

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