Wilma Rudolph? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: To achieve victory you must be able to handle defeat without collapsing or becoming discouraged. No one goes through life completely undefeated. Olympic gold-medal-winning runner Wilma Rudolph once indicated that winners must be able to pick themselves up after crushing defeat. Would you please help me to find a citation?
Quote Investigator: Wilma Rudolph described in her 1977 autobiography participating in an important athletic meet in Tuskegee, Alabama when she was a teenager. She had experienced great success in competitions in the past, but at this event she did not win a single race, and she did not qualify for anything. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
The lesson was, 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. But if losing destroys you, it’s all over. You’ll never be able to put it all back together again.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1977, Wilma by Wilma Rudolph, Chapter 5: Introduction to Competition, Quote Page 65 and 66, A Signet Book: New American Library, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩