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date: 21 April 2021

Rudolph, Wilmalocked

(23 June 1940–12 November 1994)
  • Gaynol Langs


Rudolph, Wilma (23 June 1940–12 November 1994), track and field athlete, was born Wilma Glodean Rudolph in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, the daughter of Edward Rudolph, a railroad porter, and Blanche (maiden name unknown), a domestic. Born nearly two months premature and weighing only four-and-a-half pounds, Wilma was a sickly child who contracted both double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which resulted in her left leg being partially paralyzed. Her doctors doubted that she would ever regain the use of her leg. Undaunted, Wilma’s mother made a ninety-mile bus trip once a week with her to Nashville, Tennessee, so she could receive heat, water, and massage treatments. At age five she began wearing a heavy steel brace and corrective shoes to help straighten her leg. After years of physical therapy, at age twelve she was finally able to move about without her leg brace....

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