When Wilma Rudolph was four years old, she had a disease called polio * which causes people to be crippled and unable to walk. To make matters worse, her family was poor and could not afford good medical care. She was from a large family. She was the 20th child of 22 children. Her father was a railroad porter * and her mother was a maid.
Her mother decided she would do everything she could to help Wilma to walk again. The doctors had said she would not be able to walk. She took her every week on a long bus trip to a hospital to receive therapy * . It didn't help, but the doctors said she needed to give Wilma a massage * every day by rubbing her legs. She taught the brothers and sisters how to do it, and they also rubbed her legs four times a day.
By the time she was 8, she could walk with a leg brace. After that, she used a high-topped shoe to support her foot. She played basketball with her brothers every day.
Three years later, her mother came home to find her playing basketball by herself bare-footed. She didn't even have to use the special shoe.
A track coach encouraged her to start running. She ran so well that during her senior year in high school, she qualified for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. She won a bronze medal in the women's 400-meter relay.
In 1959, she qualified for the 1960 Olympic Games * in Rome by setting a world's record in the 200-meter race. At the Olympics that year she won two gold medals; one for the 100-meter race and one for the 200-meter race.
Then she sprained her ankle, but she ignored the pain and helped her team to win another gold medal for the 400-meter relay! In the picture above you see the three gold medals she won at the Rome Olympics.
She retired from running when she was 22 years old, but she went on to coach women's track teams and encourage young people.
Wilma thought God had a greater purpose for her than to win three gold medals. She started the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to help children learn about discipline and hard work.
She died of brain cancer in 1994. Even though she is no longer alive, her influence still lives on in the lives of many young people who look up to her.
This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2001.
A frequent question:
"Who wrote this biography and when was it written?"
Look on this Reference Citations Chart.
Women in History
Black History Month
Encyclopedia of World Biography
Wilma Rudolph lesson plan from Kim's Korner
Wilma Rudolph Chronology
My Hero, Wilma Rudolph
Wilma Rudolph, ESPN
Voice of America
Wilma Rudolph Quotes
Tennessee History for Kids
From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster
(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)
: an infectious virus disease marked by inflammation of nerve cells in the spinal cord
accompanied by fever and often paralysis and wasting of muscles,
called also infantile paralysis
1 : a person who carries baggage (as at a hotel)
2 : a railroad employee who waits on passengers....
: the treatment of disease especially by massage, exercise, water, or heat
Pronunciation: mə - sahzh', - sahj'
: treatment (as of the body) by rubbing, stroking, kneading, or tapping
Function: noun plural
: a series of international athletic contests held in a different country once every four years
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman
By Kathleen Krull / Harcourt Brace
The dramtic and inspiring true story of runner Wilma Rudolph, who overcame incredible odds to become one of the worlds finest athletes. Before Wilma was 5 yrs old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. It was hard work, but at last she did run- all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn 3 gold medals in a single Olympics.
African American Awareness for Young Children: A Curriculum
By Evia Davis / Good Year Books
Here are four, exciting teaching units you can incorporate easily into your existing early childhood curriculum as either supplemental or core material. These special units expose children to literature that helps develop an appreciation of the African American culture and provides role models with whom they can identify. By recognizing the importance of cultural awareness in the development of a child's self-concept, these cultural experiences benefit all the children in the class! Includes complete lesson plans with poems, songs, and book suggestions, hands-on activities, pages to color and take home, and a classroom reproducible excerpt from the "I Have a Dream" speech. Grades PreK-1.
A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS
Wilma Rudolph (A&E)
by Amy Ruth (selected pages) Order here
by Corinne J. Naden, Rose Blue (selected pages) Order here
Stick to It!: The Story of Wilma Rudolph (Spyglass Books)
by David Conrad (selected pages) Order here
Wilma Rudolph, Newmaster Reading Comprehension, Homework Helpers, Grade 3
by Mary Newmaster(selected pages Order here
Life-Skills for Middle School, Vol. 3 (Learner's Workbook)
by ARISE Foundation (selected pages) Order here
Preview these Amazon books using the links below.
by Victoria Sherrow(selected pages)
by Thomas Streissguth(selected pages)
Wilma Rudolph Champion Athlete
by Tom Biracree (selected pages)
Wilma Rudolph Olympic Track Star
by Lee Engler (selected pages)
by Maureen Smith (selected pages)
by Jo Harper (selected pages)
Wilma Rudolph (First Biographies)
by Eric Braun (selected pages)
Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page ) 2013-02-07
wow! dreams can come true! this proves it
she is a good women
Wilma Rudolph was an Amazing woman she was very inspirational....(:
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