Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Mieography

Wilma Rudolph was a premature born baby, who weighed only 4.5 pounds when she was born. She was the 20th of 22 children. Her father worked as a railroad porter, and handyman, and her mother did laundry, cooked, and house cleaned for wealthy white families in their area. The family had such little money, that the girls frequently wore dresses made of flour sacks. She was sick often when she was little, there was no hospital for the colored in town, and the one black doctor would cost money. So her mother nursed her through measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox, and even double pneumonia. She did need to go to the doctor when she lost sensation in her left leg, and it started to become deformed. They were told she now had polio, and she would never walk. Her mother took her to a black medical college in Nashville, which was fifty miles away, twice a week for two years. Wilma started to walk, wearing a metal leg brace. The doctors taught her mother how to do the physical therapy at home. Her brothers and sisters helped her. By the age of twelve, she could walk normally, without any crutch, brace, or even a corrective shoe. It was then she decided she wanted to try athletics.

In high school, she played basketball first, and set state records for scoring, and her team won a state championship. She also ran track, and participated in her first Olympics when she was only 16 years old. She won a bronze medal in the 4x4 relay. She continued on, participating in the Olympics, and in Rome, 1960, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals. (100m dash, 200m dash, and as anchor of the 400m relay). She was hailed as the "Fastest woman in history". She retired from track at age 22, married her high school sweetheart, and had four children.
She is in the Olympic Hall of Fame, and the national Track and Field Hall of Fame, just to name a few honors. She also has a portion of US route 79 in Tennessee named after her. She got a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she got a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She worked as a teacher, coached track, and was a sports commentator on television.
Sadly, in 1994, she was diagnosed with brain and throat cancer. She died at age 54 of the same.


Daryl said...

Such a loss ..

Thanks for another wonderful bio!

Bubblewench said...

That's one impressive lady. Great bio!

sybil law said...

My mom had polio and had to learn to walk again.