At just four-foot-eleven, Martha Hudson did not strike fear in any of her opponents when they looked over at her from the other lane before a race. But at the end of the race, Hudson would usually be the one standing taller than everyone else while on the winner's podium.
Before attending Tennessee State, Hudson ran track for Twin City High School in Eastman, Ga. It was at a tournament in Tuskegee, Ala. during her sophomore year that TSU track coach Ed Temple spotted Hudson and convinced her to participate in his summer camp in 1955. In camp, Hudson picked up on Temple's coaching pointers and by the time she attended camp in the summer of 1957, she was beating some of Temple's Tigerbelles.
In 1957 Hudson graduated from Twin City as the salutatorian of her class and officially joined Temple's track team. Her teammates that she had raced against the previous three summers nicknamed Hudson "Pee Wee" due to her diminutive stature.
While at TSU, Hudson won the national AAU 100-yard dash and even set the record for the fastest time in the 75-yard dash.
Hudson and three of her teammates set a record to win the 4 x 100-meter relay Pan American games in Chicago, a precursor for things to come. In 1960, Hudson achieved perhaps her finest moments in athletics when she teamed with teammates Lucinda Williams, Barbara Jones and Wilma Rudolph to win a gold medal for the U.S. in the 4 x 100-meter relay with a world-record time of 44.3 seconds.
The Tennessee State Sports Hall of Fame inducted Hudson in 1983 and then the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame followed suit three years later.
Hudson graduated TSU in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She used her degree to teach school children in Ga. once she retired from running.
The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® highlights some of the greatest moments in honor of Tennessee State's centennial celebration. A new moment will be released each weekday for a total of 100. These moments were chosen by the TSU 100 Moments committee, which consists of alums from various departments. TSU has so many great moments, not all can be represented in these 100.
Sports Information Assistant Alex Mitchell contributed to this article.
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