Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Track and Field » Wilma Rudolph Biography - Early Obstacles, Not Just Walking, But Running, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Wins Bronze At Melbourne Olympics - SELECTED WRITINGS BY RUDOLPH:

Wilma Rudolph - Wins Gold In 1960 Olympics

jesse owens awards meter team won event

In 1960, Rudolph went to Corpus Christi, Texas, for the National AAU meet. The winners of the meet were invited to the Olympic Trials, held two weeks later at Texas Christian University. At the trials, she set a world record in the 200 meter race that would stand for the next eight years, and qualified for the Olympic team in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4 × 100 relay.

At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, she went for the gold, and won it—three times, becoming the first American woman ever to accomplish this feat. In the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash, she finished at least three yards in front of her closest competitor. In the 100-meter dash, she tied the world record, and she set a new Olympic record in the 200. As a member of the 4 × 100-meter relay team, she brought the team from behind to first place. A reporter for Time magazine wrote, "Running for gold medal glory, Miss Rudolph regularly got away to good starts with her arms pumping in classic style, then smoothly shifted gears to a flowing stride that made the rest of the pack seem to be churning on a treadmill." Her wins were even more amazing because on the day before the 100-meter semifinal event, she stepped in a hole and twisted her ankle. It swelled and became painful, but Rudolph ran anyway, and won all of her events.

Personally, Rudolph was thrilled by her gold medals because she had repeated the achievement of another of her heroes, famed African American athlete Jesse Owens, who won three gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Germany, in front of notoriously racist Nazi officials.

After the Olympics, Temple took Rudolph and the other members of the team to the British Empire Games in London. Rudolph won every event she ran in. The team continued to travel throughout Europe, and Rudolph kept winning.

Her achievements brought her instant fame, and crowds gathered wherever she ran. President John F. Kennedy invited her to the White House, she received ticker tape parades, and she was invited to dinners, awards, and television appearances. Her homecoming parade in Clarksville was attended by over 40,000 people, and was the first racially integrated event in the history of the town—at her insistence, since she refused to participate in the segregated event that the white town officials originally proposed. In 1961, she was given the Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States, and won the Associated Press's Female Athlete of the Year Award. She also became the first woman to be invited to compete in some of track's most prestigious events, including the New York Athletic Club Meet, the Millrose Games, the Los Angeles Times Games, the Penn Relays, and the Drake Relays. Rudolph also traveled with evangelist Billy Graham on a trip to French West Africa and with the Baptist Christian Athletes on a trip to Japan.

Wilma Rudolph - "you Can't Go Back To Living The Way You Did Before" [next] [back] Wilma Rudolph - Wins Bronze At Melbourne Olympics

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over 10 years ago

The president was not the exact person that told her that invited her to the celebration, it was actually the governor