Vanity Fair remembers TSU Alum Wilma Rudolph

I Still Cherish and Admire the Olympic Ideal

Wilma Rudolph burst onto the scene in 1960, and she was magnificent, not only a great runner but also a great story. Her father was a railroad porter, her mother a maid for rich, white families. A strikingly beautiful young woman, Wilma, one of 22 children, had had to overcome a series of illnesses, including polio. By chance I had met her before she became famous. I was a young reporter for the Nashville Tennessean then, all of 22 years old myself, and one day, just before the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, I was sent by my editors to the track-and-field complex at Tennessee State University. It was a black college, and Ed Temple, the coach there, already on his way to becoming a legend in the sport, apparently had a great relay team made up of four young, black women who were going to compete in the upcoming Olympics.

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