“Wilma Rudolph, once known as the sickliest child in Clarksville,Tennessee, became one of the fastest women in the world.”
Wilma Rudolph was born premature on June 23, 1940, in Clarksville, Tennessee. Wilma was the 20th of 22 children. She was born with Polio, and one of her legs was so twisted she had to wear a brace on it. She was so crippled she couldn't attend school until she was 7. When Wilma was 12, she was in church one Sunday. Out of nowhere she just reached down, removed her brace, and walked down the aisle normally. By that time, Wilma had already beaten the chicken pox, the measles, whooping cough, pneumonia, and scarlet fever. No matter, by Wilma's sophomore year of high school she was setting records on the basketball team and leading the team to a championship season.
In temperatures over 100 degrees, Wilma claimed gold in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4x100 relay. Her 100 meter time (11.0) would've been a new world record if it hadn't been deemed “wind aided.” Her 200 meter time (23.2 seconds) was an Olympic record. Her 4x100 relay time (44.5 seconds) was also a world record. Wilma dedicated her triple gold performance to her idol Jesse Owens, an African-American who as you probably know won three golds in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. Wilma was the first American woman to accomplish this feat.