We Bring To You Real Life Stories, Real People Who Had Faced Real Challenges In Life But Were Able to Overcome Such Challenges And In Spite Of Those Challenges Have gone on To Achieve Some Greatness which Today Leaves a Lesson For You and I To Learn from While Facing Our Individual Life's Challenges.

Monday, May 21, 2012

In Spite Of Polio Disease-caused Paralysis Wilma Rudolph Became The Fastest Woman On Earth.

Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely at 4.5 lbs., the 20th of 22 siblings to a poor family in Tennessee on., and caught infantile paralysis (caused by the polio virus) as a very young child. At age four, she had double pneumonia with scarlet fever, whooping cough, chickenpox, and measles, a deadly combination. She recovered, but wore a brace on her left leg and foot which had become twisted as a result. In 1952, 12-year-old Rudolph finally achieved her dream of shedding her handicap and becoming like other children. Her family drove her regularly from Clarksville, Tennessee, to Nashville, Tennessee for treatments to straighten her twisted leg, Her family learned to massage her and did that for years which also helped her get better. She also had to have a leg brace on for three years (6 to 9).

    The doctor said she would never put her foot on the earth. But her mother encouraged her; she told Wilma that with God-given ability, persistence and faith she could do anything she wanted. Wilma said, "I want to be the fastest woman on the track on this earth." At the age of nine, against the advice of the doctors, she removed the brace and took the first step the doctors had said she never would. At the age of 13, she entered her first race and came way, way last. And then she entered her second, and third and fourth and came way, way last until a day came when she came in first. At the age of 15 she went to Tennessee State University where she met a coach by the name of Ed Temple. She told him, "I want to be the fastest woman on the track on this earth." Temple said, "With your spirit nobody can stop you and besides, I will help you."

   The day came when she was at the Olympics and at the Olympics you are matched with the best of the best. Wilma was matched against a woman named Jutta Heine who had never been beaten. The first event was the 100-meter race. Wilma beat Jutta Heine and won her first gold medal. The second event was the 200-meter race and Wilma beat Jutta a second time and won her second gold medal. The third event was the 400-meter relay and she was racing against Jutta one more time.

    In the relay, the fastest person always runs the last lap and they both anchored their teams. The first three people ran and changed the baton easily. When it came to Wilma's turn, she dropped the baton. But Wilma saw Jutta shoot up at the other end; she picked the baton, ran like a machine, beat Jutta a third time and won her third gold medal. It became history: That a paralytic woman became the fastest woman on this earth at the 1960 Olympics.  The powerful sprinter emerged from the 1960 Rome Olympics as "The Tornado," the fastest woman on earth. The Italians nicknamed her La Gazzella Negra ("The Black Gazelle"); to the French she was La Perle Noire ("The Black Pearl"). She is one of the most famous Tennessee State University Tigerbelles, the name of the TSU women's track and field program.

    In Spite Of Her early Polio caused paralysis and several other Life's Challenges Wilma was able to Triumph and became the best in the world using that part of her body that was disadvantaged. Rudolph - who won three gold medals in track events at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and is rated as one of the best female athletes of this century.

    She retired from running when she was 22 years old, but she went on to coach women's track teams and encourage young people. Wilma thought God had a greater purpose for her than to win three gold medals. She started the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to help children learn about discipline and hard work.

    She died of brain cancer in 1994. Even though she is no longer alive, her influence still lives on in the lives of many young people who look up to her.

Whaaat a lesson to be learnt from Wilma. It teaches us that successful people do it in spite of, not in absence of, problems. When we hear or read stories of people who have turned adversity into opportunity, doesn't it motivate us? If we regularly read biographies and autobiographies of such people, won't we stay motivated?


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