Wilma Rudolph, 1940-1994
Wilma Rudolph was a sprinter who became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics. As a child Wilma suffered from many ailments such as double pneumonia and polio. For several years Wilma’s left leg was paralyzed which she managed to heal despite doctors telling her she would never walk again. Wilma’s 1960 Olympic win in a previously all-male field paved the way for both women and African Americans athletes.
“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”—Wilma Rudolph