Wilma Rudolph – Ballers Sports Black History Profiles

We at Ballers Sports are dedicated to celebrating Black history month and we will be profiling notable African-American athletes all month long. Today’s athlete is Wilma Glodean Rudolph, a woman who succeeded despite her circumstances and became an olympic champion. My father once told me that Wilma Rudolph was a cousin of mine but I don’t quite remember the exact connection. The story of Rudolph is inspiring to say the very least and we thought that she would be the perfect athlete to kick off our Ballers Sports Black History profiles.

Childhood

When you look at the life of Wilma Rudolph it is a story of her overcoming one obstacle after the next. From the moment she was born prematurely at 4.5 pounds Rudolph would have to fight for everything she earned. Rudolph was a product of the segregated south which meant she received inferior education and healthcare among many other things. As a result Rudolph battled one illness after another (measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox and double pneumonia) and her mother was forced to take care of her. After overcoming these illnesses her mother was told that Rudolph had polio and would never walk again. Rudolphs mother was taught how to do the physical therapy and with the help of her brothers and sisters Wilma would be walking like a normal kid by the age of 12.

1960 - Rudolph getting her gold medal for the 100 meters.

The Athlete

Years later Rudolph would find herself as the starting shooting guard for her high school basketball team. She was noticed by Ed Temple the coach of the famous Tiger Bells, the women’s track team for Tennessee State University. She was invited to a summer camp and offered a scholarship to attend school and run track. This is notable because her high school didn’t even have a track team yet she was offered a track scholarship.

The Awards

On September 7th, 1960, in Rome, Wilma became the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in the Olympics. She won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and ran the anchor on the 400-meter relay team. Wilma became one of the most decorated women athletes and broke barriers for women in track and field. On November 12, 1994, at age 54, she died of cancer in her home in Nashville, Tennessee.

There is so much more about Wilma Rudolph so take some time and find out more about her. Here is a old clip of her posted two years ago on YouTube.

More links on Wilma Rudolph

National Womans Hall of Fame – http://tiny.cc/r8y4d

Leaders of Afro-American Nashville [pdf] – http://tiny.cc/r8y4d

ESPN.com – http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016444.html

Gale Free Resources – Black History Month – http://tiny.cc/vn095

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One Response

  1. Nice work brother.. Nice work..

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