25 Wilma Rudolph Quotes For Winning Life’s Race In Style

Earn first place and beat your competition with our Wilma Rudolph quotes. 

Wilma Rudolph’s life was full of adversity and a will to succeed. 

Check out our Wilma Rudolph quotes below to learn more. 

Who was Wilma Rudolph?

Wilma Rudolph was an Olympic champion American sprinter.

She torched the competition during the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. 

Check out these astonishing Wilma Rudolph facts below:

  • Rudolph was a pioneer and elite athlete of her time.
  • Rudolph was named the faster woman in the world in the 1960s. 
  • Wilma was the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. 

Why is Wilma Rudolph worth learning about?

When faced with challenges, it is always a good idea to look to those from the past.

When we study those who came before us, we can learn from their experiences and avoid certain pitfalls. 

Wilma Rudolph was a gifted athlete who started life with a disability. 

She was born in an era when polio still ran rampant and impacted households worldwide. 

She lamented, “My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.”

As a child, a young Wilma believed in herself. 

If you have ever seen the movie, Forest Gump, you are familiar with how children stricken with polio could grow up to become elite athletes. 

Perhaps Wilma Rudolph’s story may have even inspired Forest Gump. 

What else did Wilma Rudolph accomplish?

She went from being unable to walk to walking with braces to being the fastest woman in the world. 

She noted, “By the time I was 12, I was challenging every boy in our neighborhood at running, jumping, everything.”

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Rudolph competed during a time when racism and misogyny were rampant. 

She broke ground as an African American woman, appearing on the cover of magazines, newspapers, and television. 

She was on par with other outspoken athletes of her time, such as Muhammad Ali and Oscar Robertson. 

To learn more, check out our Wilma Rudolph quotes below. 

Short Wilma Rudolph quotes about overcoming struggle

Rudolph had to overcome a disabling leg condition to learn to walk. 

1. “I know what struggle is.” — Wilma Rudolph 

2. “The triumph can’t be had without the struggle.” — Wilma Rudolph 

3. “I believe in me more than anything in this world.” — Wilma Rudolph 

4. “I walked with braces until I was at least nine years old.” — Wilma Rudolph 

5. “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you.” — Wilma Rudolph 

The top Wilma Rudolph quotes about never giving up on your mission

Wilma used her ambition to earn her a gold medal. 

6. “I thought I’d never get to see that. Florence Griffith Joyner;  every time she ran, I ran.” — Wilma Rudolph 

7. “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit.” — Wilma Rudolph 

8. “We are all the same in this notion. The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” — Wilma Rudolph 

9. “My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.” — Wilma Rudolph 

10. “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.” — Wilma Rudolph 

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You will also enjoy our article on Dorothy Dandrige quotes.

The best Wilma Rudolph quotes about jumping over life’s hurdles

These quotes highlight how Wilma led an extraordinary life. 

11. “I remind them the triumph can’t be had without the struggle.” — Wilma Rudolph 

12. “I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination.” — Wilma Rudolph 

13. “This sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.” — Wilma Rudolph 

14. “My life wasn’t like the average person who grew up and decided to enter the world of sports.” — Wilma Rudolph 

15. “My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces.” — Wilma Rudolph 

Famous Wilma Rudolph quotes about self-confidence

Rudolph reminds us that success starts with self-esteem. 

16. “I tell them that the most important aspect is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself.” — Wilma Rudolph 

17. “By the time I was 12, I was challenging every boy in our neighborhood at running, jumping, everything.” — Wilma Rudolph 

18. “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.” — Wilma Rudolph 

19. “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.” — Wilma Rudolph 

20. “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.” — Wilma Rudolph 

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Wilma Rudolph quotes and sayings about navigating fame and staying sane

Rudolph became a household name, and she had to learn to master with her success. 

21. “When I was going through my transition of being famous.” — Wilma Rudolph 

22. “What do you do to keep your sanity? You come back to the real world.” — Wilma Rudolph 

23. “When the sun is shining, I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult.” — Wilma Rudolph 

24. “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.” — Wilma Rudolph 

25. “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?” — Wilma Rudolph 

Wilma Rudolph is the definition of the American Dream

Wilma Rudolph was born into difficult conditions, but she did not allow those conditions to stop her from reaching her goal of becoming the fastest woman alive. 

What is your favorite Wilma Rudolph quote?

Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

Clifton Sankofa has Master's degrees in English, Teaching, and School Leadership. He is a veteran educator and school leader. Clifton has built his career around teaching language arts, social-emotional learning, hip-hop(e), and vegan cooking. Across the country, Black and Brown communities die over preventable diseases. Clifton's aim is to help reverse this trend through cultural shifts. Using hip-hop and cultural-centered activities, he educates young people on how to reclaim their health and heritage through sustainable vegan eating, cooking practices, and literacy skills.
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