The Wilma Rudolph lessons in persistence is a inspirational story for everyone. The day came when Wilma Rudolph was at the Olympics and at the Olympics you are matched with the best of the best. The Wilma Rudolph was born into a poor home in Tennessee. At age four, she had double pneumonia with scarlet fever, a deadly combination which left her paralyzed with polio. She had to wear a brace and the doctor said she would never put her foot on the earth. But her mother encouraged her; she told Wilma Rudolph that with God-given ability, persistence and faith she could do anything she wanted. Wilma said, “I want to be the fastest woman on the track on this earth.” At the age of nine, against the advice of the doctors, she removed the brace and took the first step the doctors had said she never would. 

At the age of 13, Wilma Rudolph entered her first race and came way, way last. And then she entered her second, and third and fourth and came way, way last until a day came when she came in first. At the age of 15 she went to Tennessee State University where she met a coach by the name of Ed Temple. She told him, “I want to be the fastest woman on the track on this earth.” Temple said, “With your spirit nobody can stop you and besides, I will help you.”

. Wilma was matched against a woman named Jutta Heine who had never been beaten. The first event was the 100-meter race. Wilma beat Jutta Heine and won her first gold medal. The second event was the 200-meter race and Wilma beat Jutta a second time and won her second gold medal. The third event was the 400-meter relay and she was racing against Jutta one more time. In the relay, the fastest person always runs the last lap and they both anchored their teams. The first three people ran and changed the baton easily.

When it came to Wilma’s turn, she dropped the baton. But Wilma Rudolph saw Jutta shoot up at the other end; she picked the baton, ran like a machine, beat Jutta a third time and won her third gold medal. It became history: That a paralytic woman became the fastest woman on this earth at the 1960 Olympics.

The Wilma Rudolph lessons is persistence teaches us that successful people do it in spite of, not in absence of, problems. When we hear or read stories of people who have turned adversity into opportunity, doesn’t it motivate us? If we regularly read turned adversity into opportunity and autobiographies of such people, won’t we stay motivated?

  • “My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “The triumph can’t be had without the struggle. And I know what struggle is. I have spent a lifetime trying to share what it has meant to be a woman first in the world of sports so that other young women have a chance to reach their dreams. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “I don’t consciously try to be a role model, so I don’t know if I am or not. That’s for other people to decide. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “I tell them that the most important aspect is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself. I remind them the triumph can’t be had without the struggle. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “I thought I’d never get to see that. Florence Griffith Joyner — every time she ran, I ran. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to get them off. But when you come from a large, wonderful family, there’s always a way to achieve your goals. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “I walked with braces until I was at least nine years old. My life wasn’t like the average person who grew up and decided to enter the world of sports. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces. .” – Wilma Rudolph
  • “I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.” – Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph- An uphill battle

  • Wilma Rudolph has an incredibly inspiring tale of triumph over adversity. Rudolph faced an uphill battle right from her very first moment on this earth.  She was born prematurely on June 23, 1940 at 4.5 pounds in a still-segregated Clarksville, Tennessee.

Wilma Rudolph Beats Polio To Become Olympic Champion – Rome 1960 Olympics

  • Follow the amazing story of the USA’s Wilma Rudolph who overcame polio to win the women’s 100m and 200m events at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games.

The Wilma Rudolph Story: Child Walks Through Polio, Then Runs into Olympic History

  • This story has many important lessons within it. It tells about a poverty stricken sickly child who overcomes many obstacles, including polio to achieve an unimaginable level of success.