Cancer Type – Brain
Bio – The track superstar was an inspiration to women athletes and Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s idol.
Short Story – Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals in the 1960 Summer Olympics: 100- and 200- meter sprints, as well as the 4 x 100 relay. She became a voice, including an effort to desegregate a restaurant in her hometown of Clarksville, TN, which worked.
She inspired everyone she came in contact with, including a generation of track stars. Jackie Joyner-Kersee called Rudolph, “my idol”. As one of the greatest Olympic champions ever, she paved the way black women athletes.
Rudolph became a teacher and track coach after her Olympic career. As a child she overcame paralysis of her leg after complications of polio, scarlet fever, and pneumonia, making her story even more compelling. So much so, a 1977 TV movie was produced about her life based on her autobiography, Wilma. In 1973 she was inducted into the Black Athletes Hall of Fame, and in 1974 she was named to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
At the age of 54, she lost her battle with brain cancer. She passed on Nov. 12, 1994 in Nashville. However, her passion and determination in overcoming obstacles, that led her to becoming a legend in the sports world, will live on forever. “I tell them that the most important aspect is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself,” she said. “I remind them the triumph can’t be had without the struggle.” – Source Wilma Rudolph Website
Wilma Rudolph Brain Cancer Update
Wilma was diagnosed with brain cancer and throat cancer.
Wilma had four children, two boys and two girls, and eight grandchildren.
Her legacy besides her awards for sports is the Wilma Rudolph Foundation, which she founded and headed. Its mission is to train youth athletes. She is also on a US postage stamp from 2004. There have been several documentaries and made-for-tv movies about her life.
In 1977 her autobiography was released Wilma: The Story of Wilma Rudolph; by 2014, there were around 21 books on Rudolph’s life published for children of all ages, from pre-school through high school.
Wilma Rudolph Peyback Foundation Scholarship is given to a female undergraduate student from Tennessee that carries a 3.2-grade point average or better. The Wilma “Skeeter” Rudolph Scholarship is given to two collegiate African-American ladies taking part in sports during college, and the Wilma Rudolph Scholarship is for ladies that are on the track team at Austin Peay State University.
|Full name||Wilma Glodean Rudolph|
|Nickname(s)||Skeeter, The Black Gazelle, The Tornado, The Black Pearl|
|Born||June 23, 1940, Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee, United States|
|Died||November 12, 1994 (aged 54), Brentwood, Tennessee, United States|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||130 lb (59 kg)|
|Sport||Track and field|
|Club||TSU Tigerbelles, Nashville|
|Achievements and titles|
|Olympic||1956 Summer Olympics|
|Finals||1960 Summer Olympics|
|Representing the United States|
|Gold Medal – First Place, 1960 Rome||100 m|
|Gold Medal – First Place, 1960 Rome||200 m|
|Gold Medal – First Place, 1960 Rome||4×100 m relay|
|Bronze Medal – Third Place, 1956 Melbourne||4×100 m relay|
Image Credits – By Lindeboom, Henk / Anefo [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons