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Main > Sports > Wilma Glodean Rudolph

Wilma Glodean Rudolph (June 23, 1940 - November 12, 1994) was an American athlete, and in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field during a single Olympic Games, despite running on a sprained ankle.

The powerful sprinter emerged from the 1960 Rome Olympics as "The Tennessee Tornado," the fastest woman on earth. The Italians nicknamed her "La Gazzella Nera" (the Black Gazelle); to the French she was "La Perle Noire" (The Black Pearl).

She received numerous awards: United Press Athlete of the Year 1960 and Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year 1960. In 1961, Rudolph won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. She was voted into the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1973 and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974. She was inducted in the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1994. Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983 and honored with the National Sports Award in 1993.

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