Wilma Rudolph was an American athlete considered the fastest woman in the world in the 60′s, whose career was highlighted by her winning 3 gold medals in track and field during the Rome Olympic Games in 1960.
When you look at the early life of Wilma Rudolph you would not see the stereo-typical lifestyle of a future Olympic champion. Her story would give every one of you the inspiration to believe in the possibilities of achieving your dreams.
The story of Wilma Rudolph has many important lessons within it. It tells about a poverty stricken sick child who overcame many obstacles, including polio to achieve an unimaginable level of success. Have no doubts that this woman overcame incredible odds to fulfil her dreams.
She demonstrated a ‘never give up’ philosophy as well as that success is a process not an event. In this process, you have to plan, work hard, accept failure at times and never give up. Success rarely comes easily for anyone, but if you do not give up, and stay determined and persistent you can achieve all of your dreams.
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. 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
Let me tell you her story.
Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals at the Rome Olympics of 1960, including the 100m which officially made her the fastest woman on earth. But of course that’s not where the story starts.
Wilma Rudolf was born prematurely into a poor home in Tennessee, USA and weighed only 4.5 pounds. Her early years were plagued by one illness after another: measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox and double pneumonia.
It was discovered that her left leg and foot were becoming weak and deformed. She was diagnosed with polio, a crippling disease that had no cure. The doctor told her mother that Wilma would never walk.
But Mrs. Rudolph would not give up on Wilma. She found out that she could be treated at Meharry Hospital, the black medical college of Fisk University in Nashville. Even though it was 50 miles away, Wilma’s mother took her there twice a week for two years, until she was able to walk with the aid of a metal leg brace. Then the doctors taught Mrs. Rudolph how to do the physical therapy exercises at home. All of her brothers and sisters helped too, and they did everything to encourage her to be strong and work hard at getting well. Finally, by age 12, she could walk normally, without the crutches, brace, or corrective shoes. It was then that she decided to become an athlete.
When she was a child, her mother asked her ‘Wilma, what do you want to be when you grow old.’ She answered “I want to be the fastest woman on earth”. With moist eyes, her mother encouraged her to follow the dream.
With tremendous determination and spirit, she removed her brace and started to walk. Doctors said it is a miracle of God that she is walking. At age of 13, she participated in her first race at school level and came last. She continued to come last on many more races to come.
At age of 15, she entered in the Tennessee state university and met her coach Ed Temple. She reiterated her dream to Ed – “I want to be the fastest woman on earth”. Ed answered – “With your spirit no one can stop you”. Ed decided to help her in the training.
Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us. Wilma Rudolph
Wilma Rudolph’s life is a story of achieving against the odds. Her first accomplishments were to stay alive and get well![youtube video_id=”q4C5l11QnEQ” width=”640″ height=”360″ ]