RUDOLPH Wilma (1940-1994) United States / Track and field
The American athlete Wilma Rudolph, who was already an Olympic champion in the American relay in Melbourne in 1956, is remembered above all as the first woman to be triple Olympic champion. This was in the sprint in Rome in 1960, making her the heroine of those games.Despite this feat she never enjoyed the popularity she deserved. The reason was her involvement in the anti-racism movement. On top of that, American society, which was still very puritan, would not forgive her for being a single mother. She married twice and divorced twice.Yet this exceptional athlete nicknamed "the black gazelle" had come a long way. She lost the use of her legs as a child as a result of an untreated affliction, and only recovered it as a teenager... The twentieth child of a poor Tennessee family, sport was to chage her life. She took up basket ball before going on to athletics only five years before winning her first Olympic medal.