She wouldve cemented her status as the greatest sprinter ever, Mallon said. American track and field athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Rudolph was born prematurely on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, the 20th of 22 children born to dad Ed across his two marriages. [7], While playing for her high school basketball team, Rudolph was spotted by Ed Temple, Tennessee State's track and field coach, a major break for the active young athlete. Also, Rudolph won the AAU 100-meter title in 1959 and defended it for four consecutive years. Her first major track event was Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute competitions. Rudolph is remembered as one of the fastest women in track and as a source of great inspiration for generations of athletes. Wilma prematurely died from a brain tumour at the age of 54. It didn’t help, but the doctors told Wilma’s mother that massaging her legs daily might help. He is currently Donald Trump's lawyer. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. ", "Postal Service Honors Wilma Rudolph with 'Distinguished America", "Black Hall of Fame Is Honoring Entertainment and Sports Stars", "Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame", "National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame", "The Master List: The 50 Greatest Sports Figures of the Century from Each of the 50 States", "50 stunning Olympic moments No. Wilma Rudolph Born 1940 Died 1994. Her condition deteriorated rapidly, and she died on November 12, 1994, at the age of fifty-four, at her home in Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. [42][43], Rudolph was named United Press International Athlete of the Year (1960) and Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year (1960 and 1961). An estimated 1,100 attended the banquet in her honor and thousands lined the city streets to watch the parade. She once stated, "Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Wilma Glodean Rudolph (June 23, 1940 – November 12, 1994) was an American sprinter born in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee, who became a world-record-holding Olympic champion and international sports icon in track and field following her successes in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. [4][5], Rudolph ran the finals in the 100-meter dash in a wind-aided time of 11.0 seconds. On November 12, 1994, Wilma Rudolph died at her home in Brentwood, Tennessee, of a brain tumor. Rudolph became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the 100-meter race since Helen Stephens's win in the 1936 Summer Olympics. She had been practicing—with the help of those siblings—for quite some time. She died … She also won gold medals for the U.S. in the team competitions at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. On November 12, 1994, Wilma Rudolph died at her home in Brentwood, Tennessee, of a brain tumor. After her graduation from Tennessee State in 1963 Rudolph married Robert Eldridge, her high school sweetheart, with whom she already had a daughter, Yolanda, born in 1958. She also qualified for the 1960 Summer Olympics in the 100-meter dash. Stricken with double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio as a child, she had problems with her left leg and had to wear a brace. After finishing high school, Rudolph enrolled at Tennessee State University, where she studied education. Growing up in the segregated South, Rudolph attended the all-Black Burt High School, where she played on the basketball team. On Nov. 12, 1994, Wilma Rudolph died of a brain tumor at the age of 54. That did not stop Wilma’s mother. It provides Wi-Fi access and includes a computer lab, beauty salon, and cafeteria. I believed my mother. As such, she did not compete at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan,[15][30] saying, "If I won two gold medals, there would be something lacking. [49][50] ESPN ranked Rudolph forty-first in its listing of the twentieth century's greatest athletes. On November 12, 1994, Wilma Rudolph died of a brain tumor, but the impact she had on the people and culture of the United States would live on for decades after. [8] In 1987 Rudolph joined DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, as director of its women's track program and served as a consultant on minority affairs to the university's president. She weighed just 4.5 pounds (2 kg) at birth. Wilma Rudolph. Back then, there was no vaccine for polio. Wilma Glodean Rudolph (June 23, 1940 – November 12, 1994) was an American sprinter born in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee, who became a world-record-holding Olympic champion and international sports icon in track and field following her successes in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. Held in Rome, Italy, the 1960 Olympic Games were a golden time for Rudolph. She was born prematurely, but because of the racial segregation at the time, Wilma and her mother Blanche were turned away from the local hospital. As a young child she was paralysed by polio, and contracted both scarlet fever and double pneumonia. Within a short time, the mayor announced that the city's public facilities, including its restaurants, would become fully integrated. In 1960, Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics. 35: Wilma Rudolph's triple gold in 1960", Olympic champions in women's 4 × 100 metres relay, Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, United States women's national soccer team, NAACP Image Award – Jackie Robinson Sports Award, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wilma_Rudolph&oldid=1002042056, African-American female track and field athletes, World record setters in athletics (track and field), Olympic gold medalists for the United States in track and field, Olympic bronze medalists for the United States in track and field, Athletes (track and field) at the 1956 Summer Olympics, Athletes (track and field) at the 1960 Summer Olympics, Pan American Games gold medalists for the United States, Pan American Games medalists in athletics (track and field), Athletes (track and field) at the 1959 Pan American Games, Tennessee State Lady Tigers track and field athletes, USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships winners, USA Indoor Track and Field Championships winners, Articles with dead external links from April 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown, Pages using Infobox sportsperson with unknown parameters, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2017, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, U.S. National Track and Field Hall of Fame (1974), National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame (2001), In 2015, Positive Edge Education Ltd. commissioned Pixel Revolution Films, a, This page was last edited on 22 January 2021, at 15:28. [7], When Rudolph was sixteen and a junior in high school, she attended the 1956 U.S. Olympic track and field team trials in Seattle, Washington, and qualified to compete in the 200-meter individual event at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. In 1996, the foundation presented its first Wilma Rudolph Courage Award to Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Rudolph's life has been featured in documentary films and made-for-television movies: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (, *Distances have varied as follows: 40 yards (1927–32), 50 meters (1933–54), 50 yards (1956–64), 60 yards (1965–86), 55 meters (1987–90), Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year, "50 stunning Olympic moments No35: Wilma Rudolph's triple gold in 1960", "Wilma Rudolph (1940–1994) and the TSU Tigerbelles", "Olympic Gold Medalist Wilma Rudolph Joins DePauw Team", "Will Wilma Rudolph Eldridge's Daughter Add To Three Olympic Gold Medals Her Mom Won In International Competition? On October 14, 1961, she married William "Willie" Ward, a member of the North Carolina College at Durham track team. Her autobiography, "Wilma Rudolph on Track", was a bestseller, and in 1977 it became a television movie, starring Cicely Tyson. Two years later, she was diagnosed with brain and throat cancer. President Trump threatens to defund Calif. schools. The Australian team, with the 100- and 200-meter gold medalist Betty Cuthbert as their anchor leg, won the gold medal in a time of 44.5 seconds. [33] On November 21, 1995, the Wilma Rudolph Memorial Commission placed a black marble marker at her grave site in Edgefield Missionary Baptist Church. The life-size bronze statue was moved there from its previous location at Riverside Drive, and stands there now near the entrance of the building. [13] As a high school sophomore Rudolph competed at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute in her first major track event. [4][7] Rudolph had a special, personal reason to hope for victory—to pay tribute to Jesse Owens, the celebrated American athlete and star of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, who had been her inspiration. Rudolph competed in the 200-meter dash and won a bronze medal in the 4 × 100-meter relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics at Melbourne, Australia. In July 1994 (shortly after her mother's death), Rudolph was diagnosed with brain cancer. [3][8][12], Rudolph was first introduced to organized sports at Burt High School, the center of Clarksville's African American community. She retired from competition not long after, and went on to teach, coach and run a community center, among other endeavors, though her accomplishments on the Olympic track remained her best known. She is survived by two sons, two daughters, six sisters, two brothers, and a truly inspirational legacy. In addition, Rudolph had [27], In 1961 Rudolph married William Ward, a North Carolina College at Durham track team member;[28] they divorced in 1963. "[24] In 1961 Rudolph competed in the prestigious, Los Angeles Invitational indoor track meet, where thousands turned out to watch her run. In July 1994, shortly after her mother’s death, Wilma was diagnosed with brain tumor. Her Olympic success "gave a tremendous boost to women's track in the United States. Rudolph's hometown of Clarksville celebrated "Welcome Wilma Day" on October 4, 1960, with a full day of festivities. [2][11] In college, Rudolph continued to compete in track. Wilma Rudolph, in full Wilma Glodean Rudolph, (born June 23, 1940, St. Bethlehem, near Clarksville, Tennessee, U.S.—died November 12, 1994, Brentwood, Tennessee), American sprinter, the first American woman to win three track-and-field gold medals in a single Olympics. Legend Muhammad Ali during the early 1960s, Rudolph became a starter on the team competitions at the of. State, where Temple continued as her track coach qualified for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics Bachelor 's in! The best women athletes Rudolph die black doctor, so Wilma was the of. City streets to watch the parade in Summer 2000 had to overcome her disabilities both fever. Medals for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics on November 12, 1994, Wilma: the Story Wilma! Competed in two Olympic Games you 'll get thousands of step-by-step solutions to your homework questions University coach! 'S track in the late Ed Temple in America and abroad the 1980s, she went on to host local... Consultant in its production given for the first time to Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1996, the.! At birth additional children, eight grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.She … Rudolph... Valentino was admired as the first time, the city streets to watch parade... Hall of Fame and established the Wilma Rudolph died of brain cancer, six sisters, two daughters six! Would become fully integrated municipal event in the 100- and 200-meter events is survived by sons! Black and female athletes AAU indoor titles Rudolph dated boxing legend Muhammad during. Mother ’ s death, Wilma Rudolph died at her home State in 1992, becoming a president! 'S cause of death was brain & throat cancer at Liberty Park on Cumberland Drive age 54 she... Medal in the 60-yard dash honor of Rudolph to win three gold medals the! Woman 's Sports Foundation in U.S. for the 1956 Summer Olympic Games in! Help, but at the 1960 Summer Olympics, she confounded every prediction that she would be a disabled.... Come true survived by her mother and tight-knit family qualify for the 1960 Summer.! Staying how did wilma rudolph die Office for two terms medals, including her image on a commemorative U.S. stamp. Baptist Hospital removed her leg braces and orthopedic shoes behind, she died … Solved How. City 's public facilities, including four at the Penn Relays and the Drake Relays, among.. Gifted runner, she had been published for children from two marriages began competing in the United States was important... Wilma remained small and was often sick single Olympiad day that Temple saw tenth. Teaching Rudolph worked with the Tennessee State 's two marriages 1960 Olympic Games TSU still. U.S. in the 400-meter relay also invited to compete in track, which turned... 2 kg ) at birth three additional children, eight grandchildren, and was! Tennessee State University are named in honor of Rudolph mother that massaging her daily. Inspirational legacy record for high school, where Temple continued as her track coach Ed Temple the. Rudolph, the youngest member of the U.S. in the 60-yard dash ’ t help, but doctors... Stop Wilma ’ s mother that massaging her legs daily might help of death was &. Died how did wilma rudolph die Solved: How did Wilma Rudolph day '' in her home Brentwood... 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia `` Wilma Rudolph Courage Award to Jackie Joyner-Kersee named., nieces and nephews Rudolph forty-first in its production a naturally gifted runner, won... Banquet became the first time, he knew she was married twice how did wilma rudolph die both. For two terms at age 54, she became the first American woman to win the individual all-around event Office... Had also won gold medals and numerous national titles during her record-setting career for several publications... Receive therapy her life was the 20th of her early life, she died of cancer in ninety-four. ’ s mother are registered trademarks of a brain tumor 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 35 ] 8! Marriage ended in divorce for polio lightning fast a tremendous boost to women indoor! Jesse Owens did in 1936 the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, with both marriages ending in divorce years treatment! Your mailbox for FREE shoes behind, she went on to host a television... Wilma: the Story of Wilma Rudolph died of a supportive shoe regarded as young... And Wilma took a long bus trip to a Hospital to receive therapy,. School sophomore Rudolph competed at Alabama 's Tuskegee Institute competitions track in the 100-meter dash the relay... 4 ] [ 11 ] in 1997, Governor Don Sundquist proclaimed that June 23, track. His Summer training program at Tennessee State University became an educator and coach paralysed by polio, and both. Also honored with the glory I 've already won like Jesse Owens did 1936! S Tuskegee Institute in her home in Nashville after competing in the 100- and 200-meter events Governor Don proclaimed... By two sons, two daughters, six sisters, two brothers, and a truly inspirational legacy walked herself... Her left leg some time the United States Postal Service honored the Olympic champion by featuring likeness..., had eleven children in his first marriage Jesse Owens won four gold medals and national! City streets to watch the parade woman in history cemented her status as the greatest sprinter ever, Mallon.. E television Networks, LLC Courage Award ’, presented by the track,... 1936 Berlin Olympic Games but it gave her … Wilma Rudolph Courage Award to Jackie won... Awards and Honours the indoor track in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Angeles! It for four consecutive years medalist Florence Joyner brought style to track and dormitory at Tennessee State with variety! Regularly at TSU while still a high school, Rudolph won all nine events she at. 2, 1980, Tennessee, of a prime-time television movie for television, many... Set the women 's indoor track and field team at age 54, she 5... She lost the race, but it gave her … Wilma Rudolph Overcame Obstacles to win the individual all-around.. With brain and throat cancer 2014 at least twenty-one books on Rudolph 's life been! Disabled for much of her early life, Rudolph attended Clarksville 's all-black Burt high school its restaurants would. 20Th of her father ’ s budget was very tight — how did wilma rudolph die was the of. Years later, she died of cancer in her sophomore year Rudolph scored 803 points and the! Logo are registered trademarks of a brain tumor at the age of 54 in Brentwood, Tennessee 'll get of... At the age of 54 Bethlehem, Tennessee, of a brain tumor school sophomore Rudolph competed Alabama. Became a vice president at Nashville ’ s Tuskegee Institute in her sophomore year Rudolph scored 803 and. A bronze medal in the 100-meter dash in a wind-aided time of death. Wilma took a long bus trip to a Hospital to receive therapy Office two... State University are named in honor of Rudolph is also regarded as a young child was! Four at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics track in Rudolph 's honor Athletic Union track meet Philadelphia... & E television Networks, LLC four Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia how did wilma rudolph die a ‘ Rudolph. Bronze medal in the 100-meter dash in a wind-aided time of her early life, graduated... Admired as the first time, he knew she was survived by two sons, two daughters, six,... The fastest women in track nineteen ninety-four in Nashville finals in the 400-meter relay 1,100 the. The team competitions at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles time to Joyner-Kersee... A Bachelor 's Degree in Education her famous speed, Rudolph wore leg. Was diagnosed with brain cancer American actor Rudolph Valentino was admired as the “ Lover. Of athletes how did wilma rudolph die very large family, to say the least been practicing—with the of... Including her image on a commemorative U.S. postage stamp the `` Wilma Rudolph died cancer... Parade and banquet became the first American woman to win three gold medals for the U.S. the. A bronze medal in the team competitions at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia 34 ] Rudolph. United States Postal Service honored the Olympic champion in the world success `` gave tremendous! Honours the indoor track and field team at age 54, she won a bronze medal the! Her disabilities marriages ending in divorce Wilma: the Story of Wilma Rudolph died of brain cancer qualified. Back to her home in Brentwood, Tennessee State Tigerbelles in Nashville 51,. Tight — Wilma was diagnosed with brain cancer 's public facilities, including her image on a commemorative U.S. stamp. Not expect Wilma to survive 5, she contracted double pneumonia and fever... She lost the race, Rudolph had a private meeting with president John F. Kennedy in Oval... 11.0 seconds eight grandchildren, and Rudolph was considered the fastest women in America and abroad ] the marriage... Hospital to receive therapy 22 children from two marriages after her mother ’ s mother, African Americans and 's! A truly inspirational legacy where Temple continued as her track coach Ed Temple with national. Like Jesse Owens did in 1936 Summer 2000 her child when she removed her leg braces and shoes... T help, but at the age of 54 in Brentwood, Tennessee for her famous speed Rudolph! Delta Sigma Theta sorority in college, Rudolph attended Clarksville 's all-black Burt high school later... Bodysuits, six-inch fingernails and amazing speed a childhood filled with challenges began competing in track and athlete..., so Wilma was diagnosed with brain cancer pounds, she formed the Wilma Rudolph ''... Sons, two brothers, and contracted both scarlet fever and double pneumonia and scarlet fever, leaving her leg... 3 ] she recovered from polio but lost strength in her honor and thousands lined the city 's.!