Female Gold Medalist
By Laura Lee - June 14, 2023

Throughout history, female athletes have been breaking barriers and winning gold medals in a variety of sports. From track and field to tennis, swimming, gymnastics, figure skating, and more—women have proven that they are just as capable of achieving greatness as their male counterparts. One such athlete is Wilma Rudolph. Born in 1940 in Tennessee to an impoverished family with 21 siblings, she overcame numerous physical odds to become the first African American woman to win three gold medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Wilma’s story began when she was born prematurely and suffered from various illnesses throughout her childhood including polio which left her unable to walk until age 12.

Getty Images/ Mondadori Portfolio/ Angelo Cozzi;Mario De Biasi;Sergio Del Grande

But despite all obstacles thrown her way, Wilma refused to give up on herself or her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion one day. As a result of hard work and determination fueled by sheer grit and courage, Wilma eventually achieved what many thought impossible for someone like her—three gold medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics for the 100m dash (tying the world record), 200m dash (setting a new world record) and 4x100m relay (breaking another world record). In addition to being an Olympic champion, Wilma was a role model for countless women and girls around the world who looked up to her courage, tenacity, and inner strength. Her success in the Olympics opened up doors for other female athletes and changed how people perceived African American women’s capabilities in sports. She proved that anything is possible with hard work and dedication and that no obstacle is too big to overcome.

Wilma Rudolph set an example of excellence for female athletes everywhere and continues to be a beacon of hope and inspiration. Today, Wilma’s legacy lives on in the countless women who look up to her as their role models and feel inspired by her story. Her journey of courage and determination is a reminder that no matter how daunting the odds, it’s always possible to come out on top if we never give up on ourselves. Wilma Rudolph will forever be remembered as one of the greatest female athletes in history and an inspiration for generations of women to come!