8 Olympic Athletes Kids Can Look Up To

Photo by: Babble
Wilma Rudolph
Wilma Rudolph was born two months premature and spent most of her childhood bedridden. Suffering from a multitude of illnesses including infantile paralysis caused by the... more 
Photo by: Babble
Wilma Rudolph
Wilma Rudolph was born two months premature and spent most of her childhood bedridden. Suffering from a multitude of illnesses including infantile paralysis caused by the polio virus, Rudolph wore braces on her legs and feet until the age of nine. Determined to beat her handicap, she sought treatment for her twisted leg and went on to join her school's basketball team, a sport at which she excelled and where she was eventually discovered by a college track and field coach. Fourteen years after a doctor told Rudolph's mother that her daughter would never be able to walk, she became the first American woman to receive three gold medals for the 100, 200, and 400 meter races. Rudolph's story is a testament to the power of courage and determination.
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Wed, Jul 18, 2012 2:38 PM EDT
Growing up, like many little girls, I was fascinated by gymnasts and figure skaters. Possessing zero coordination and almost as little athletic ability, I watched with longing, nose practically pressed to the glass of our family television, the graceful moves of the Olympic athletes each time the games arrived. While I knew I would never perform the perfect triple axel while an adoring crowd looked on or receive a perfect 10 for my well-executed performance on the balance beam, I greatly admired those who would.

The level of dedication, discipline, and determination required to become an Olympian is attained by few. The qualities they exhibit are as valuable in sport as they are in life, and that is why Olympic athletes are such ideal role models for our children. Here are a few whose achievements have stood out over the course of Olympic history:

- By Amber Doty

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