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Community Advocacy Organization

A Look In The Mirror - Wilma Rudolph (1940 to 1994) Olympic Track Medalist


In 1956 and 1960, African-American sprinter and Olympic champion, Rudolph, won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200 and 4x100-meter relays at the Summer Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia. During that period, she was widely regarded as the fastest woman on the planet. Due to the Olympics' worldwide television coverage, Rudolph and other athletes such as Rafer Johnson and Oscar Robertson became international celebrities.


During the 1960s, Rudolph became a prominent figure in both the US and abroad. As an Olympic gold medalist, she became a role model for women and African-American athletes. Her achievements also helped raise the profile of women's track & field in the country.


Rudolph officially retired from competition in 1962. At that time, she was the world record holder in the 200 and 100 meters individual events. Following the Olympics, she became a coach and an instructor at Tennessee State University.


Rudolph died in 1994 due to throat and brain cancer. Her achievements have been memorialized through various mediums, such as a postage stamp, documentaries, and a movie. She is also featured in children's books and other publications.


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