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Wilma Rudolph

Full name: Wilma Glodean Rudolph (-Ward, -Eldridge)
Gender: Female
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
Weight: 130 lbs (59 kg)
Born: June 23, 1940 in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee, United States
Died: November 12, 1994 in Brentwood, Tennessee, United States
Affiliations: TSU Tigers, Nashville (USA)
Country: USA United States
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 3 Gold, 1 Bronze (4 Total)

Biography

Wilma Rudolph was the first U.S. woman to win the Olympic sprint double. As the 17th child in a family of 18, she contracted polio as an infant and was unable to walk properly until she was 11. As a 16-year-old she went to the 1956 Olympics and, although eliminated in the preliminaries of the 200 m, won a bronze medal in the relay. Over the next four years she developed into the world's fastest sprinter and in July 1960 she set a world record of 22.9 for 200 m and added the 100 m record in winning the Olympic title in 11.3. The following season she equalled her 100 m record in Moscow and, four days later, in Stuttgart, lowered it to 11.2. At the 1959 Pan American Games she won gold with the 4×100 m relay team (with Isabelle Daniels, Barbara Jones, and Lucinda Williams) and silver in the 100 m. Rudolph won the AAU 100 m for four successive years from 1959 and in 1960 she added the 200 m. She also won three AAU indoor titles. Rudolph was known to the Europeans as "The Black Gazelle", both for her speed and her beauty. She has made a great impact on women's athletics in this country by both her performances and her promotional work on behalf of women's sports. She formed her own company, the Wilma Rudolph Foundation, that worked with underprivileged children and sponsors athletic competition for children in Indianapolis. Unfortunately she died rather young from a brain tumor.

Personal Bests: 100 – 11.41 (1960); 200 – 22.9 (1960).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1956 Summer 16 Melbourne Athletics Women's 200 metres United States USA 3 h2 r1/3
1956 Summer 16 Melbourne Athletics Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay United States USA 3 Bronze
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics Women's 100 metres United States USA 1 Gold
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics Women's 200 metres United States USA 1 Gold
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay United States USA 1 Gold

Women's 100 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H) T(A) L
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States Final 1 11.0w 11.18w 1
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU/=WR 11.3 11.41
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States Quarter-Finals Heat One 1 QU 11.5 11.70
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States Round One Heat Six 1 QU 11.5 11.65

Women's 200 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H) T(A) L
1956 Summer 16 Melbourne Athletics United States Round One Heat Two 3 24.6 24.83
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States Final 1 24.0 24.13 1
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU 23.7 23.79
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States Round One Heat Six 1 QU/OR 23.2 23.30

Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T(H) T(A) L
1956 Summer 16 Melbourne Athletics United States USA Final 3 44.9 45.04 1
1956 Summer 16 Melbourne Athletics United States USA Round One Heat Two 2 QU 45.4 45.52
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States USA Final 1 44.5 44.72 3
1960 Summer 20 Roma Athletics United States USA Round One Heat Two 1 QU/WR 44.4 44.50