Wilma Rudolph

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by kthru3lms
Last updated 7 years ago

Health & Fitness

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Wilma Rudolph

It's pretty hard to imagine having 21 brothers and sisters! Wilma was the second youngest. Her parents and brothers and sisters tried to help her, because she was not a strong baby. Just before she turned 5, she got a serious disease called polio, which caused her left leg to twist inward. Because she was African American at a time when they were not treated equally, she and her mom had to travel 50 miles away to a hospital who would help her. She got exercises to make her leg strong enough to wear a brace. She was so excited that she could finally go to school. Then, after 5 years of doing her exercises her leg was strong again. She surprised everyone by walking without it! After watching for so long, she finally started playing her favorite game - basketball. She even went to the Tennessee state championships, where a college coach saw how fast she ran! He said his college would pay for her to go - the first person in her family! Before she was even out of high school, she competed in her first Summer Olympic Games in Australia, in 1956. She won a Bronze Medal! Four years later, she was back at the Olympics, and she did something no other woman had done - win 3 gold medals!! When she stopped her running career, she went to college and became a 2nd grade teacher. She coached at the high school, too!She even started a foundation in 1994 called Wilma Unlimited to help kids to succeed in school and in sports. Sadly, Wilma died from cancer in 1994. But, she will forever be remembered for triumphing over a serious disability and not letting anything get in the way of her dreams.


1940 - Born1944- Gets polio1949 - Mails brace back1956- Wins Bronze medals in Australia1960 - wins 3 gold medals in Italy1962 - 2nd gr teacher & HS coach1982 - started fundation called Wilma Unlimited1994 - died of cancer

Wilma won a Bronze Medal in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia when she was only 16 years old! Four years later, she went to the Olympics in Rome, Italy, where she won 3 gold medals. She was the first woman to win three medals in one Olympics. She started the Wilma Unlimited Foundation to give free coaching and help with schoolwork to underprivileged children in urban areas.

Why Wilma Inspires Me

Wilma Rudolph is one of the most inspiring people I ever read about. She 0vercame polio to become an Olympic gold medal winning runner! Even though she died in 1994, what she did still inspires people today!


- Krull, Kathleen. Wilma Unlimited- "Wilma Rudolph". PebbleGo Biographies




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