The VIPP Report: Remembering Wilma Rudolph one of U.S.A’s greatest track and field stars

*PHOTOS: When you open the story you can see the slideshow of photos courtesy Rudolph family

Rudolph set the “gold” medal standard for sprinters

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin. WHAS11, ABC Louisville

With the Summer Olympics just weeks away, there was an athlete that changed track and field in the 60s.  Did you know that Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph has family in Louisville?  I sit down with her nephews who just know her as Aunt Wilma.

She was an Olympic champion, civil rights activist, coach, educator and mom of four. Born Wilma Glodean Rudolph, a premature baby having pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio. At five she wore a leg brace and could barely walk but was later named the fastest woman in the world.  She was the first American woman to win three gold medals at one Olympic games back in 1960.  Some of Rudolph’s family lives right here in Louisville. 

Larry Rudolph, Wilma Rudolph’s nephew tells me how they are related. “I am Wilma Rudolph’s nephew.  Wilma and my dad were brothers and sisters.”  Larry and Sammy Rudolph tell me there were 22 children in the family.  Wilma was number 20 and their dad was the first son.  Rudolph was called the Black Pearl, the Chattanooga Choo Choo but if you called her by her childhood nickname you really knew the track and basketball star.

Larry says “Skeeter was her nickname,. They called her Skeeter because she was so small. (Laughter) She was called Skeeter all through college and most people don’t call her Wilma. The ones who really know her called her Skeeter.”

Even as a child she was resilient and turned obstacles into opportunities.  Rudolph says “She had polio and had to wear braces the whole nine. More or less they thought she couldn’t walk again but she proved them all wrong.  And when she finally got to walk and then run she would always race against the boys, would beat the boys. After a while, boys would never want to race her because they  let a girl beat them  and she was that fast.”

Sammy did not know his aunt was an international star until he was in fourth grade. Here’s how he found out.            

“I called my dad. I’m doing a story on a Wilma Rudolph, he said do you know who that is? No sir, that’s your auntie, that’s my sister.  I went back to school telling everybody that Wilma Rudolph was my aunt. I was so proud to have a famous aunt in a book that you read in school. It was just amazing.” 

Larry says his dad actually kept Wilma’s three gold medals from the 1960 Olympics in his Louisville home for years.  “They were in his basement at one time. I remember going to his house and they were hung up in the basement.  They were there for years but to us it was common knowledge and paid no attention it was medals to this day I couldn’t tell you what happen to them.”

Sammy tells me that a young Cassius Clay and Wilma were an item after the Olympics.  He talks about the time when they showed up at his school in Louisville. 

“Well that’s funny. I used to play basketball for Thomas Jefferson High School my junior year and a big limo pulls up outside Wilma Rudolph and Muhammad Ali at the time was Cassius Clay they came to my school to watch me play ball. I was telling everybody that’s my aunt. You don’t know that woman.  I said Aunt Wilma and she came over and gave me a hug  and I got to shake Muhammad Ali’s hand.”

This week, Wilma would have been 81 years old.  She died in 1994 of cancer.  The state of Tennessee recognizes it as Wilma Rudolph Day.  I asked how significant is her legacy?

Larry  says “For a poor Black woman, little Black girl to come up , reach the status she did equivalent it means a lot to the whole town because she put that town on the map Clarksville, TN was known because of Wilma Rudolph.” 

Sammy added by saying “Not only did she win three medals in one games. You realize she was the fastest woman in the world in the 60s.  Its amazing. The fastest woman in the world. So she was the GOAT. She was the goat of track and field.  Its hard to believe coming from what she went through as a kid. To be the fastest woman in the world. It’s just an amazing story.”

“Her name will live forever”

To see the story, click the following link https://www.whas11.com/video/news/local/wilma-rudolphs-louisville-family-reflects-on-her-legacy/417-9257361c-c952-461b-a6cb-2639d21bc52f

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

The VIPP Report: Students receive medals and prizes for the participation in eLearn Olympics

elearn-LOGO-REVISED

Louisville, Kentucky (May 13, 2016)—Louisville Central Community Centers (LCCC) will host their Spring eLearn Olympics celebration at 11am on Saturday, May 14, 2016 to recognize nearly 80 medalists and their supporters. Students will be presented with gold, silver or bronze medals and other prizes for their achievements using Study Island, a technology-based system that supports the local school district’s Every 1 Learns initiative. Schools and community organizations who support student achievement will also be recognized. Currently, there’s 1,400 participants in the eLearn Olympics program.

eLearn Olympics was created in 2013 by LCCC as an initiative to celebrate academic achievements of students grades K-12. LCCC’s Senior Vice President, Kevin Fields, says as we approach the 2016 Olympics in Reno we want to motivate our youth not only in athletics but in academics. As we cheer on Olympian Angel McCoughtry who is a great supporter of our initiative we want to motivate our scholars to achieve at their ultimate potential and to use Study Island throughout their summer break.”

In eLearn Olympics, students win prizes and gain public distinction for completing online, skill-building lessons in Study Island. This program is geared toward helping students achieve proficiency in their common-core academic skill areas that are part of Kentucky Department of Education curriculum standards. eLearn Olympics offers annual recognition for participation and achievement in extracurricular academic programs.

You can see a complete list of our event’s honorees below. JCPS Director of Volunteer Talent Center Dr. Allene Gold, JCPS Board Member Diane Porter, Gheens Foundation CEO Barry Allen and representatives of the Angel McCoughtry Dream Foundation will join LCCC in honoring these students and their families. The public is invited to attend the celebration on May 14, from 11:00-12:00 am at Old Walnut Street, 1300 W Muhammad Ali Blvd (40203), in the Atrium Room.

We will also recognize the top three schools that had the most medalists during the Spring competition.   Price Elementary with 11 medalists, Western Middle School with 10 medalists and there’s a four-way tie with Johnson Traditional, Myers Middle, Meyzeek Middle and Newburg Middle Schools all having five medalists.

There will be three community centers acknowledged during the program. That’s Lighthouse Promise with 20 Spring medalists, Big Brothers Big Sisters with four medalists and Louisville Central Community Centers with a total of three medalists.

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About Louisville Central Community Centers

LCCC is headquartered in Louisville, KY, at 13th Street and West Muhammad Ali Boulevard, in the Russell neighborhood. LCCC is a 501c(3), private, non-profit community-based organization that is governed by an independent, volunteer Board of Directors. LCCC offers a variety of programs and services in support of children and families. Early childhood education, youth development, arts education and other after school programs, employment services and job training for adults, money management and home ownership are just some of the services provided. Sam Watkins, Jr. is the president and CEO of LCCC.

About eLearn Olympics

Founded by LCCC with support from the Gheens Foundation, JCPS and other sponsors, eLearn Olympics is a set of academic competition events that incentivize and reward student achievement in areas of reading, mathematics, science & social studies. Now with over 1400 enrolled members, eLearn Olympic sparks a spirit of pride among students, parents, schools and community-based learning places by providing opportunities for educational competition, academic skill development and public recognition. Students can earn public distinction as gold, silver or bronze medalists in a variety of academic performance categories. For more information visit http://www.elearnolympics.com or call (502) 583-8821.

If you have a story idea, send it to TheVIPPReport@vippcommunications.com.  You can follow us one Twitter @thevippreport @vippcomm.  #thevippreport #vippcommunications

Watkins poses with Olympian Medalist

Reading medalists

Gold medalists

Ashton Tunstull (Eisenhower Elementary)

Asia Tunstull (Eisenhower Elementary)

Treasure Wales (Johnson Traditional Middle)

Ezell Everett (Johnson Traditional Middle)

Marcus Griffin (Johnson Traditional Middle)

Silver medalists

LaMichael Arnold (King Elementary)

Jaelyn Pruitt (Crums Lane Elementary)

Gabrielle McDonald (Price Elementary)

Stephan Smith (Crums Lane Elementary)

Jacobi Jones (Crums Lane Elementary)

Perrion Hughes (Wheatley Elementary)

Jose Ortiz (Myers Middle)

Gavin Sams (Meyzeek Middle)

Bronze medalists

Ariyauna Ridgeway (Western Middle)

Ndeye Cisse (Noe Middle)

Warren King (Meyzeek Middle)

Hawa Simagan (Price Elementary)

Ameena Shareef (King Elementary)

Hugo Ramosleon (Myers Middle)

Tyquan Starks (Western Middle)

Deasia Dennis (Carter Elementary)

Philippine Simagan (Price Elementary)

Elean Meridaperez (Myers Middle)

Thomas Bryant (Myers Middle)

Andrea Trejo (Myers Middle)

Detrick Dyer (Meyzeek Middle)

Malachi Tilford (Meyzeek Middle)

Joseph Noah (Western Middle)

Ciara Higgins (Auburndale Elementary)

Joseph Foster (Noe Middle)

Skyla Todd (Price Elementary)

Mackayla Andrews (Noe Middle)

Ameera Delouvpre (Farmer Elementary)

Daquan Williams (Western Middle)

Joyceonna Grant (Newburg Middle)

Khia Briscoe (Crosby Middle)

Jaalyne Everett (Western Middle)

Kieron McMurry (Moore Traditional)

 

Math medalists

Gold medalists

Natalya Pitts (Price Elementary)

Ameera Delouvpre (Farmer Elementary)

Jayla Miles (Young Elementary)

Silver medalists

Seannae Williams (Field Elementary)

Breanna Carson (Western Middle)

Chloe Cary (Price Elementary)

Dominiquic Martin (Newburg Middle)

Donnavon Grant (Luhr Elementary)

Philippine Simagan (Price Elementary)

Elijah Todd (Newburg Middle)

Jayla Todd (Price Elementary)

Ibrahim Delouvpre (Newburg Middle)

Bronze medalists

Jayden   Harris (Wilkerson Elementary)

Jayden   Todd (Price Elementary)

Amari    Smith (Newburg Middle)

Treasure Murray (Western Middle)

Jordyn Pennebaker (Johnson Traditional)

Alexis Bryant (Western Middle)

Ashton Tunstull (Eisenhower Elementary)

MaKiya  West (Price Elementary)

Asia Tunstull (Eisenhower Elementary)

Derica Johnson (Johnson Traditional)

Ryane Holmes (Chancey Elementary)

Zechariah Mimms (Hartstern Elementary)

Aniya Lawhorn (Conway Middle)

Alisia Crawford (Robert Frost Six Grade Academy)

Brooklyn Guy (Western Middle)

Davione Campbell (Sanders Elementary)

Kaleah Sheffield (Meyzeek Middle)

Kieron McMurry (Moore Traditional)

Timari Young (Western Middle)

Fanta Simagan (Price Elementary)