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Biographies Unit Biographies

Wilma Rudolph 1940–1994
Olympic Champion

Wilma Rudolph was an amazing runner. In the 1960 Olympics, she ran 100 meters in eleven seconds. (That's nearly the length of a football field!) Rudolph won the gold medal.

Rudolph was not just fast. She was very strong and determined. When she was a child, she was partly disabled. She wore a heavy brace on her leg until she was 12 years old. After the brace came off, she started playing sports. Rudolph was a champion basketball player at her high school in Tennessee. She became a runner and won many races. She ran in the Olympics in 1956 and in 1960. In 1960, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics. Wilma Rudolph went on to win more races and set more records. She is remembered as one of the greatest American athletes.

Comprehension Check

When did Wilma Rudolph win three gold medals?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think determination was important to Wilma Rudolph?