Wilma Rudolph was born into poverty in the state of Tennessee. When she was four years old she had double pneumonia with scarlet fever, which left her paralyzed with polio. She had to wear braces and the doctor said that she would not be able to walk normally again. Her mother encouraged her and said that she could do anything she wanted if she only believed. Wilma said,“I want to be the fastest woman on this earth.”
At the age of nine, against the advice of the doctors, she removed the braces and took her first step. At the age of thirteen, she took part in her first race and came way, way last. She entered various other races and came way, way last until one day, she came in first. At the age of fifteen she went to Tennessee State University where she met a coach. She told him that she wanted to become the fastest woman on the track, on this earth. The coach replied, “With your spirit nobody can stop you.” In the 1960 Olympics Wilma Rudolph, the paralytic girl, became the fastest woman on this earth by winning three gold medals – in the 100 meter race, 200 meter race, and 400 meter relay.
Who would have believed that a paralytic girl could have won three gold medals in the Olympics? Wilma Rudolph did not see herself, as a cripple, but she saw herself as a winner. She took control of her destiny and went after her dream with a vengeance. Along the way she had to overcome challenges and discouragements but it was worthwhile when she collected her three gold medals. If a crippled person like Wilma can make it big, what more can we do with a perfect physical body.
“The past cannot be regained, although we can learn from it; the future is not yet ours even though we must plan for it. Time is now. We have only today.”
We have potential within us. All we need to do is believe and take the necessary action even when things get rough.