Another GREAT moment in Black History is in line with the Olympic spirit.
Wilma Rudolph was an African American athlete who became the first woman to win three medals at the Summer Olympics in 1960.
She competed in the 1956 Olympic games and won a bronze medal in 4×100 relay. Four years later, Rudolph headed to the 1960 summer Olympics determined to get gold. Her performance in Rome cemented her as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. She won three gold medals and broke at least three world records. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at the same Olympic game. Her performance also earned her the title of “the fastest woman in the world.”
Returning home an Olympic champion Rudolph refused to attend her homecoming parade if it was not integrated. She won the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award in 1961. The following year, Rudolph retired from track and field. She went on to finish her degree at Tennessee State University and began working in education. She continued her involvement in sports, working at several community centers throughout the United States. She was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame and started an organization to help amateur track and field stars. In 1990, Rudolph became the first woman to receive the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Silver Anniversary Award. The indoor track and dormitory at Tennessee State University are named in honor of Rudolph. In 1977, her life was the subject of a prime-time television movie. Rudolph died of a brain tumor on November 12, 1994.