A story about overcoming adversity:
Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely in 1940 to a railroad porter and a maid. She was only 4 1/2 lbs and the 20th of 22 children. As an African American female living in poverty she already had a tough lot in life, and to make matters worse she became crippled because of polio at 4 years old. Unable to walk, she wore leg braces and her siblings took turns massaging her legs. Her mother drove her 90 miles weekly to therapy, but doctors told her not to bother. They said Wilma would never walk again. In the meantime she fought whooping cough, measles and chicken pox, however Wilma was determined to lead a “normal” life. With this willpower, by the time she was 8 she learned to walk with a brace. When she was 9 she mastered walking using only a high-topped shoe that supported her foot. At 11 she was able to play basketball without the shoe. When she got older she played basketball and ran track in school.
A coach recognized Wilma’s talent and encouraged her to succeed. At 16 she won a bronze medal in the Olympics for a relay. By the time she was 20 she became “the fastest woman in the world” and the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics! She beat records for the 100 and 200 meter races. Wilma Rudolph represented her country proudly and humbly and paved the way for African-American athletes who came later.
Later in her life she established the Wilma Rudolph Foundation, a non-profit community-based sports program. She said this was her proudest accomplishment.
If Wilma’s story tells us anything, it’s that the quality of resilience is key to success. Wilma never let her circumstances dictate what she could or could not do. Even when she was told over and over to give up, she never gave in.
There’s no time for excuses or complaining. Go chase after your dreams and never give up. Become unstoppable!