“I believe in me more than anything in this world.”

“My doctor told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.”

Wilma Rudolph was the first American woman to win three gold medals in an Olympic event, in 1960 in track and field. Rudolph had severe disabilities as a child. She was born prematurely (the 20th of 22 children) and had pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio as a child, which made her have to wear a brace on one leg. However, she worked tirelessly to overcome her physical limitations and believed strongly in her power to do so. When she was older, she started the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to support amateur athletics. Now, the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award is granted by the Women’s Sports Foundation to female athletes who demonstrate exceptional courage in their athletics. At only age 16, in 1956, she won her first Olympic medal – before she had even finished high school! It was in the next summer Olympics, in 1960, that she won three medals and established multiple world records. She soon left her competitive career and taught, coached, and ran a community center. Rudolph still inspires countless athletes today, and is famous for her words: “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”

Source: http://www.biography.com/people/wilma-rudolph-9466552#synopsis