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Wilma Rudolph -- anything is possible (photo attached)

Wilma Rudolph -- anything is possible (photo attached)

Rome, 1960

Throughout her childhood, all Wilma Rudolph wanted to be was a normal kid. As a toddler, double pneumonia and scarlet fever kept her bed-ridden while other kids played outside. When she was just four years old, she contracted polio, which crippled her left leg and forced her to wear a heavy, metal brace wherever she went.

For seven years, she and her mother made weekly 100-mile treks for treatments on her leg and her brothers and sisters took turns massaging it daily. Then, when she was 11 years old, Wilma could finally walk without the brace and her hope of being a normal kid was finally in sight.

But a strange thing happened. Rather than just keeping up with the other kids, she outran them. At 16 she won a Bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics. At 20, Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympiad. It turned out that her dreams of being a normal kid never came true after all.

(Credit: IOC)

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