Athletes of History: Wilma Glodean Rudolph

The Legacy: Olympic Track Star

Wilma Glodean Rudolph (June 23, 1940 – November 12, 1994) was an African American sprinter in the 1960s who won three Gold Medals at the Olympic Games in 1960.  She became a national phenomenon as the fastest women on earth and used that fame to fight as a civil rights activist with famed boxer Cassius Clay, who later became Muhammad Ali.

Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely at 4.5 pounds as the twentieth child of a family with twenty two siblings. Rudolph contracted infantile paralysis at age four and was expected to have severe limited mobility by doctors at Meharry Hospital in Nashville Tennessee.  With determination and patience she slowly gained back her mobility and followed in her sisters’ footsteps to play basketball for her high school.

In the tenth grade Rudolph was spotted by Tennessee State track and field coach Ed Temple and he brought her to Tennessee State to train regularly.  By 1956 she traveled to Melbourne for the Olympic Games and came home to her high school classmates with an Olympic track bronze medal for the 100 meter relay. By the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome she was ready for Gold.  She came out of the competition with three gold medals in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 100 meter relay setting Olympic records in each, earning the title by the Italians La Gezzella Nera, or the Black Gazelle.

Wilma Rudolph was a great American athlete and Olympic track star, and her story is one of the many that motivate us here at Abacus to continue to provide or customers with an exceptional quality product.  From our Padenpor Gym Flooring Systems to our Weight Room Flooring and Running Tracks, Abacus is committed to giving our athletes the highest quality impact absorbing floors to help prevent early fatigue and injury.  Just like the athletes that compete on our floors we drive with passion to be the very best.