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100 Moments: Rome Games Become Showcase For TSU
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® series continues by recognizing the five Tennessee State athletes who took home seven gold medals in the same Olympics.

With the political events going on in Africa and Germany and the social events happening in the U.S., some say that the 1960 Olympics in Rome had bigger implications than just athletics. If you are from that frame of mind, then it makes what Wilma Rudolph, Barbara Jones, Martha Hudson, Lucinda Williams and Ralph Boston accomplished even more special.

Rudolph's accolades are perhaps most memorable, becoming the first woman to win three gold medals in the same Olympic Games.

First, Rudolph won the 100-meter dash in 11 seconds flat, and it would have been a world-record had the wind not aided her. She then followed up that gold medal performance with a win in the 200-meter dash. Rudolph's time of 23.9 seconds became a new Olympic record.

Later, Rudolph teamed with fellow Tigerbelles Martha Hudson, Lucinda Williams and Barbara Jones in the 400-meter relay. The team of Tigerbelles ran the event in 44.5 seconds, winning gold. The group of TSU student-athletes beat the team from Germany by just .3 seconds.

Jumper Ralph Boston also represented TSU well in the men's long jump. With a jump of 8.12 meters, Boston bested fellow American Bo Roberson by .01 meters.

The dramatic victories of the Tigers were shown on television for the first time in Olympic history, allowing them to become house hold names. The public awareness generated by the gold medal performances helped the Civil Rights Movement gain even more momentum, blurring the line between student, athlete and social activist.

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.