This Day in Black History: June 23, 1940

Wilma Rudolph, Olympic gold medalist

This Day in Black History: June 23, 1940

Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph was born June 23, 1940.

Published June 23, 2012

Wilma Glodean Rudolph was born on June 24, 1940, in Clarksville, Tennessee.


After a childhood marked with physical illnesses, one of which left her unable to walk until age 9, Rudolph went on to be known as “the fastest woman in the world” after her stellar performance at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. She earned three gold medals at the 1960 games and was the first woman in history to accomplish such a feat.


Rudolph’s triumph at the games catapulted her into international superstardom, as the 1960 games were the first to be televised. In 1963 she was selected to represent the U. S. State Department as a Goodwill Ambassador at the Games of Friendship in Dakar, Senegal, and was later inducted into the Black Athletes Hall of Fame and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.

She died on November 12, 1994, at the age of 54.



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(Photo: MCT/Landov)

Written by Naeesa Aziz


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