November 12

November 12, 1994 – Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph (1960)

Wilma Rudolph (1960)

On November 12, 1994, Olympic Gold Medal champion Wilma Rudolph died in Brentwood, Tennessee of cancer at age 54.  Rudolph broke American female Olympic records by becoming the first female Olympic athlete to win three gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics. She accomplished this feat at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy.

Giuseppina leone

Wilma Rudolph (1960 in Italy)

Rudolph’s athletic skills are truly remarkable, because of the effects of polio at age four, Rudolph had a twisted leg, resulting in her having to wear a brace until age nine. Who would have thought the young lady wearing the brace would later in life be proclaimed the (fastest woman in history). She was born on June 23, 1940,  in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee.  When most teenagers were involved in high school activities, Rudolph was preparing for the Olympics.  While still a student in high school, Rudolph qualified for the 1956 Summer Olympic Games that were held in  Melbourne, Australia.  At the young age of 16 Rudolph won the bronze medal in the sprint relay event.  She later graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in elementary education.  She would go on to the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome to earn her spot in history by winning three gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics.