Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose
Wilma Glodean Rudolph
Wilma Glodean Rudolph became the first American woman to will three gold medals in a single Olympiad in 1956. She was part of a loving family with 22 siblings and battled bouts of polio and scarlet fever, and as a child she had to wear braces on her legs. The doctors told her she would never walk again, instead she became the “fastest woman in the world”.
Ms. Rudolph used her celebrity to highlight social issues. After her success in 1956, she refused to attend Tennessee State University’s homecoming parade if it was not integrated. She was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 1990. After retiring from track & field in 1961, Ms. Rudolph finished her degree and remained active in sports working to develop programs for children in various schools and community centers.
- Rudolph, “Wilma: the Story of Wilma Rudolph”, 1977
- Smith, “Wilma Rudolph: A Biography”, 2006