Suffering as a child from polio, Wilma Rudolph overcame incredible odds to compete as a member of the U.S. Team at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. After winning three gold medals in sprint events (the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 4-x-100-meter relay events), Rudolph was dubbed "the world's fastest woman."
Rudolph, who also won a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, was inducted into the Black Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. After retiring from competition, Rudolph worked as a teacher, track coach, and sports broadcaster. She also founded the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to promote community-based, youth-oriented athletic and academic programs. In her honor, the Women’s Sports Foundation annually presents the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award to a female athlete who exhibits fortitude, perseverance, self-sacrifice, and inspiration.