Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely 4.5 pounds in Clarksville, Tennessee on June 23, 1840. At the age of 4, she nearly died of double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio, which finally led to paralysis of her left leg. She lived physically disable for most of her early life.
She wore leg braces for 6 years. At the age of 12, leg braces was removed and started to work normally. Doctors gave her a little hope of working the legs normal.
The punchline: Rudolph won three gold medals in 1960s Olympics in Rome, Italy. She was acclaimed the fastest woman in the world in the 1960s and became the first American woman, to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. Rudolph and her achievements are memorialized in a variety of tributes, including a U.S. postage stamp, documentary films, and a made-for-television movie, as well as in numerous publications, especially books for young readers.
She once said, “I loved the feeling of freedom in running, the fresh air, the feeling that the only person I’m competing with is me.”