Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What is your excuse?

Born the twentieth of twenty-two children, in a small, rural Tennessee town in 1940, she contracted polio as a four year old and was told she may never walk again. She lost the use of her left leg and was in such a weakened state she was shackled with leg braces. Living in a house with no money for special medical treatments, her TEAM of siblings took over. Thus, her legs were massaged a number of times each day, helping her to regain strength. Her confidence may have flagged at times in her childhood when it seemed she might spend a lifetime in leg braces or even a wheelchair. Through the efforts of her devoted family—and her own steely determination to strengthen herself—she rose from disability to Olympic glory in a few short years.

After five years of leg massage treatment, she one day stunned her doctors when she removed her leg braces and walked by herself. Soon she was challenging her brothers to races in the back yard.

Her love of basketball led her to try out for the ninth grade team where her coach cut her and told her not to bother with the sport. As a tenth grader she was added to the roster simply because the basketball coach wanted her older sister on the team and her father told the coach that the older sister could play if he allowed the younger girl to be a part of the team. The girl with the leg braces that was cut as a ninth grader went on to score 803 points that year which is still a Tennessee record for sophomores.

As a fourteen year old she started running track after the track coach saw her on the basketball court and encouraged her to run.

You see, WILMA RUDOLPH, the girl with the leg braces had never heard of the Olympics as a fourteen year old and two short years later she was toeing the line of the 100 meter dash in Australia where she won a bronze medal.

Four short years later the poor girl from Tennessee that stunned her doctors by removing those leg shackles shocked the world in Rome, Italy.

At the 1960 Olympics, Rudolph won all three of her gold medals in very dramatic fashion. In both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash, she finished at least three yards in front of her closest competitor. She tied the world record in the 100-meter and set a new Olympic record in the 200. Rudolph also brought her 400-meter relay team from behind to win the gold. The French called her "La Gazelle." Without question, Rudolph's achievements at the 1960 Olympic Games remain a stand-out performance in the history of Olympic competition.

Are you hurting today? There is nothing you can’t overcome without a singleness of mind and purpose. And I ask again, “What is your excuse?”