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Shortly after Wilma’s birth, her family moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, where she grew up and attended elementary and high school.Her father, Ed, who worked as a railway porter and did odd jobs in Clarksville, died in 1961; her mother, Blanche, worked as a maid in Clarksville homes and died in 1994.Her determination to compete, however, made her a star basketball player and sprinter during high school in Clarksville, Tennessee. track and field team at age 16, she won a bronze medal in the 400-meter relay.
In 1962 Rudolph retired from competition at the peak of her athletic career as the world record-holder in the 100- and 200-meter individual events and the 4 × 100-meter relays.
After competing in the 1960 Summer Olympics, the 1963 graduate of Tennessee State University became an educator and coach.
Rudolph was initially homeschooled due to the frequent illnesses that caused her to miss kindergarten and first grade.
She began attending second grade at Cobb Elementary School in Clarksville in 1947 when she was seven years old.
She became a role model for black and female athletes and her Olympic successes helped elevate women’s track and field in the United States.
Rudolph is also regarded as a civil rights and women’s rights pioneer.The time when she flourished as an athlete, neither the media nor any big agencies endorsed athletes, like the way they do nowadays.Therefore, even after setting records at the Olympic Games Rudolph’s livelihood was quite modest.However, by the age of twelve she had recovered fully and in 1952 she becomes normal.Growing up in the segregated South, Rudolph attended the all-black Burt High School, where she played on the basketball team.She had to rely on jobs, other than just pursuing the sport. She was born a premature baby weighing just 4.5 pounds to Ed who was a gatekeeper at railways and Blanch who worked as a maid.Childhood, Family and Educational Life Wilma Rudolph, in full Wilma Glodean Rudolph, was born on June 23, 1940, St. She was the twentieth of twenty-two siblings from her father’s two marriages.She was first married to William Ward, a member of the North Carolina College at Durham track team, in 1961, whom she divorced 17 months later.After her graduation from Tennessee State in 1963, Rudolph married Robert Eldridge, her high school sweetheart, with whom she already had a daughter, Yolanda, born in 1958.Rudolph and Eldridge had four children: two daughters (Yolanda, born in 1958, and Djuanna, born in 1964) and two sons (Robert Jr., born in 1965, and Xurry, born in 1971). This legendary female sprinter from Tennessee had suffered from polio in her leg for most of her childhood, before becoming the world’s no.1 sprinter.Career and Works Wilma Rudolph was sickly as a child and could not walk without an orthopedic shoe until she was 11 years old.