Essay, Research Paper: Wilma Rudolph


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This report is on Wilma Glodean Rudolph. Wilma was born June 23,1940 in
Clarksville, Tennessee. William’s education is: her mother tutored she until
she started school when she was seven. She eventually graduated from the school,
went to Tennessee State University and graduated with “flying colors”. When
Wilma was born she weighed only 4.5 pounds, and was the twentieth of twenty-two
children! Since than she was nursed by her mother until she was seven. She was
sick all the time. She had measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox, and
double pneumonia. She had to be taken to the doctor because her left leg was
getting very weak, she soon found out she had polio in her left leg. They
thought she would never walk again. But she and her mother would never give up
hope that easily. The only place Wilma could go to get treated was at Meharry
Hospital, the black medical college of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.
It was fifty miles away but her mother took her twice a week for two years until
she could walk with the help of a metal brace on her leg Finally at the age of
twelve a miracle happened, she walk without a metal brace, without a crutch,
without any help at all. In junior high school she followed her sister’s
footsteps and became a basketball player. The coach Clinton Gray did not put her
in a game for three years. He finally started she her sophomore year. She
started as point guard. During a tournament she was spotted by Ed Temple the
couch of the famous track team called the Tigerbells. Because her school did not
have a track team Ed invited Wilma to a summer sports camp for track at
Tennessee State University. After graduating from high school, she received a
sports scholarship and went to Tennessee State University. Because of her
celebrity from her track carrier she took a year off year studies, she made
appearances and participated in International track events. She returned to her
studies and received a degree in education when she graduated in 1963. In 1963
she also married her high school sweetheart, Robert Eldrige, with whom she had
four children, Yolanda {1958}, Djuanna {1964}, Robert Jr. {1965}, and Xurry
{1971}. They later got divorced. Now I will tell you about her accomplishments.
Her first accomplishment was just staying alive. But after that she won a bronze
metal in the 4x4 relay race in the1956 Olympic Games at the age of 16. On
September 17th 1960 in Rome she became the first women to win three Olympic gold
metals. She won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and ran the anchor in
the 400-meter relay team. That led her to become one of the most celebrated
female athletes in history. Because of her celebrity she caused gender barriers
to be broken. Because, previously women were not allowed in all track events. So
she went where no women have gone before, and so did other women thanks to her.
HER AWARDS United Press Athlete of the year 1960 Associated Press Women Athlete
of the year 1960 The Babe Zaharias Award 1962 Black Sports Hall of Fame 1980
U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame 1983 Vitalis Cup for Sports Excellence 1983 Women’s
Sports Foundation Award 1984 The First Women to get these Awards James E.
Sulivan Award for good sportsmanship 1961 European Sportswriters’ Sportsman of
the year Christopher Columbus Award for Most Outstanding t International Sports
Personality 1960 The Penn Relays 1961 New York Athlete Club Track Meet. The
Millrose Games There were other honors as well. In 1963 she was selected to
represent the U.S. State Department as a Goodwill Ambassador at the Games of
Friendship in Dakar, Senegal. Later, that year she was invited by Doctor Billy
Graham to join the Baptist Christian Athletes in Japan. She had the first party
recorded in Clarksville history where blacks and whites gathered for the same
event. She also went on to protest about segregation until the laws where
brought down. After retiring from her track carrier she went back to Clarksville
and taught at her old school Cobb Elementary, and was the track coach at her
alma matter, Burt High School. She replaced her old coach Clinton Gray who
tragically, died in an auto accident. After that she moved on to coaching
positions first Maine, than Indiana. She was a gust speaker at dozons of schools
and universities. She then became a sports commentary on national television and
the co-host of a radio show. In 1967 Vice President Hubert Humfrey invited Wilma
to participate in ‘Operation Champ” an athlete outreach program for
underprivileged youth in the ghettoes of 16 major cities. She started her own
non-profit organization, called The Wilma Rudolph Foundation, to continue this
kind of work. The foundation provided coaching for many sports, and accademic
assistance and support as well. In 1977 she wrote her autobiography, simply
titled “Wilma” It was made into a television movie; Wilma worked on it as a
consultant. In 1997, Governor Don Sunquist proclaimed June 23 as Wilma Rudolph
Day in Tennessee. Date of Death: Saturday, November 12, 1994, at the age of 54
Place of Death: Wilma died in her home in Nashville, Tennessee. She had been in
and out of Hospitals for several months after being diagnosed with Brain Cancer.
Leroy Walker, president of the U. S. Olympic committee, said, “All of us
recognize that this is obviously a tremendous loss. Wilma was still very much
involved in many Olympic programs. It’s a tragic loss. She was struck with an
illness that, unfortunately, we can’t do very much about.” That concludes my
report of the tremendous life Wilma had.
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