Wilma Rudolph Quotes

Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994)

Wilma Rudolph Breaks The Tape in 1960
Robert Riger/Getty Images Sport

The "fastest woman in the world" at the 1960 Olympics where she won three gold medals, Wilma Rudolph wore metal braces on her legs as a child. Known for her dignity and grace, Wilma Rudolph died of brain cancer in 1994.

Selected Wilma Rudolph Quotations

• Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion. The potential for greatness lives within each of us.

• My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.

• The triumph can't be had without the struggle. And I know what struggle is. I have spent a lifetime trying to share what it has meant to be a woman first in the world of sports so that other young women have a chance to reach their dreams.

• I don't consciously try to be a role model, so I don't know if I am or not. That's for other people to decide.

• I tell them that the most important aspect is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself. I remind them the triumph can't be had without the struggle.

• No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you.

• I thought I'd never get to see that. Florence Griffith Joyner -- every time she ran, I ran.

about her leg braces: I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to get them off. But when you come from a large, wonderful family, there's always a way to achieve your goals.

• I walked with braces until I was at least nine years old. My life wasn't like the average person who grew up and decided to enter the world of sports.

• My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces.

• I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.

• By the time I was 12 I was challenging every boy in our neighborhood at running, jumping, everything.

• The feeling of accomplishment welled up inside of me, three Olympic gold medals. I knew that was something nobody could ever take away from me, ever.

• When I was going through my transition of being famous, I tried to ask God why was I here? what was my purpose? Surely, it wasn't just to win three gold medals. There has to be more to this life than that.

• What do you do after you are world famous and nineteen or twenty and you have sat with prime ministers, kings and queens, the Pope? Do you go back home and take a job? What do you do to keep your sanity? You come back to the real world.

• When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult.

• I believe in me more than anything in this world.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2005. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Wilma Rudolph Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/wilma_rudolph.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Wilma Rudolph Quotes." ThoughtCo, Sep. 24, 2021, thoughtco.com/wilma-rudolph-quotes-3530190. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2021, September 24). Wilma Rudolph Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/wilma-rudolph-quotes-3530190 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Wilma Rudolph Quotes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/wilma-rudolph-quotes-3530190 (accessed June 8, 2023).