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SPORTS 1960 Volume 1, Issue 13

June 1960

Wilma Rudolph

Sugar Ray Robinson

From Tragedy to Triumph

“Sweet as Sugar” By Sheena Shaw

By Anna Priddy On June 23, 1940, a baby girl weighing only four and a half pounds struggled for her life. Her premature body hardly seemed fit to survive in the outside world, let alone in a sports arena. Although no one would have believed it at the time, this little girl would become the fastest woman on earth in 1960. This little girl would win three gold medals and elevate track to to a major presence in the United States. This little girl was Wilma Rudolph. Five years ago, this summer, this little girl became an international superstar. Throughout her childhood, she would never stop struggling. Infantile paralysis crippled her body, but failed to cripple her spirit. She recovered from the virus, and, by the time she was twelve years old, had also overcome scarlet fever, whooping cough, chickenpox, and measles. Finally, through over a decade of pain and Continued on page 2

Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional


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Wilma Rudolph: From Triumph to Tragedy Sugar Ray Johnson: “Sweet as Sugar”

boxer who is frequently cited as the greatest boxer in history. Sugar Ray Robinson had a winning streak of 40 professional and 125 amateur fights. He became the welterweight champion on December 20, 1946 by defeating Tommy Bell. He held the title for five consecutive years from

Muhammad Ali Strikes Gold at Summer Olympics Robinson Breaks Color Barrier

1946 until 1951. Sugar Ray retired in December 1965 at the age of 44 after 25 years in the ring. He was a five-time middleweight champ between the years of 1951 and 1960. In total, Sugar Ray lost 19 fights out of 201. His record was 174 wins, 19 losses, and 6 undecided. Continued on page 2 Sports1960 1

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“Wilma Rudolph”, Continued from page 1

countless physical therapy sessions, twelve-year-old Rudolph rose above her handicaps and became an athlete. As a sophomore, she became starting guard for her high school basketball team and was spotted by Ed Temple, the coach for the famous Tigerbells, the women's track team at Tennessee State University. Because Burt High School didn't have the funding for a track team, coach Temple invited Wilma to Tennessee State for a summer sports camp. From there, her track career took off. By the time she was sixteen, Rudolph had earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic track team, becoming the youngest member of the team, and returned from the 1956 Melbourne Games with an Olympic bronze medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay. After graduating from high school, Rudolph received a track scholarship from Tennessee State to study education. During her enrollment, she

“Sugar Ray,” Continued from page 1

Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional boxer who is frequently cited as the greatest boxer in history. As an amateur fighter, he was 85-0, with 69 by way of knockout. He turned professional in 1940 and by 1951 had won 128 fights out of 131. He held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951, the first to win a divisional world championship five times. He died in poverty in 1989. He is best remembered as "Sugar" Ray Robinson. Born on May 3, 1921 in Ailey, Georgia, his parents moved the family to New York when Sugar Ray was a teenager to escape the prejudice in the South. It was there, in a Harlem gym, that he was first introduced to boxing. Sugar Ray visited the gym frequently, using a borrowed Amateur Athletic Union boxing card of a friend. The friend's name, incidentally, was Ray Robinson.

also trained hard for the next Olympics, and took a year off from her studies to make appearances and compete in international track events. Rudolph gained international fame at the 1960 Rome

His natural talent in the ring began to draw attention, and soon crowds gathered to watch Sugar Ray perform. When future coach George Gainford watched him box for the first time,

Olympics. She brought home gold medals in the 100-meter, 200-

Gainford commented that the young boxer's style and fluid motions

meter, and 4 x 100 meter relay events. She broke the Olympic

were "sweet as sugar." Others agreed, and the nickname stuck.

record in the 200 in an impressive 23.2 seconds, and would

After winning the New York Golden Gloves championship in

break the record for the 4x100 later that year with her Tennessee

1940, 19-year-old Sugar Ray turned pro and never looked back. By

State teammates. Though she technically broke the record in the

1946, Sugar Ray was the world welterweight champion. His reign

100 at the Games, her time was not credited because the run was

included a 91 fight winning-streak. He held the title for five years,

“wind-aided”. After these wins, she rose to international

and then moved onto acquiring the world middleweight title, which

stardom as "the fastest woman in history". She made numerous

he held five times between 1951-1960. A dominant force in the

appearances on television and received several honors, including

boxing ring for two decades, Sugar Ray was 38 when he won his

being named the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year

last middleweight title.

twice. Even in the midst of all the media coverage, Rudolph did not let fame go to her head. She remained humble, citing her

In the mid-1960s, Sugar Ray exited the ring gracefully.

victory as a tribute to Jesse Owens, the celebrated American

"No beefs, George," he told his coach. "Sometimes we got the best

athlete who had been her inspiration, also the star of the 1936

of it in the past."

Summer Olympics, held in Berlin, Germany. Today, as we mourn the passing of influential civil rights leader, Malcolm X, we celebrate the achievements of another prominent African American – Wilma Rudolph, the sprinting superstar.

Sugar Ray's record was 128-1-2 with 84 knockouts at the pinnacle of his career. Amazingly, in over 200 fights, Sugar Ray was never physically knocked out. Altogether; he amassed 109 KOs, and finished with a record of 175-19-6 with two

Continued on page 3 Sports1960 3

“Sugar Ray,” Continued from page 2


no-decisions. World champion Muhammad Ali called him "the king, the master, my idol." In 1997, The Ring magazine named Sugar Ray

Muhammad Ali defeated Zbigniew Pietrzykowski from Poland at

"pound for pound, the best boxer of all time." More recently, in

the 1960 Summer Olympics. He went through Yvon Becot from

1999, the Associated Press named him both the greatest

Belgium and won by stoppage in the second round. Then he

welterweight and middleweight boxer of the century.

fought against Gennadiy Shatkov from the Soviet Union and won Sugar Ray performs. When future coach George Gainford

the fight with a score of 5 to 0. Muhammad supports the Islamic religion by being following the religion of Sufism. On this great

watched him box for the first time, Gainford commented that the

victory he has brought great pride to all of our people and we

young boxer's style and fluid motions were "sweet as sugar."

bless him to continue to be the greatest boxer. We also hope that he continues to support the cause of civil rights to all black people. ~ Brian Anthony Hughes

Robinson Breaks Color Barrier By Tyree Hunter Jack Robinson is the first black player to play in Baseball's major league. He broke baseball’s color barrier when his contract was purchased from the Montreal Royals of the international League by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson, a native of Georgia, was an all-around athlete including baseball, football, basketball, and track at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). After graduating he was signed to the Montreal Royals. During a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers he caught the eye of their president Branch Rickey who promoted the purchase of Robinson and began a historical movement.

Hank Aaron Gets His Gold Glove By Kayla McDevitt On this extraordinary game Aaron hit .326, with 30 home runs and 95 RBIs. He led the Braves to another pennant, but this time they lost a seven-game World Series to the Yankees. Aaron finished third in the MVP race, but he picked up his first Gold Glove. Though they lost many things this is the beginning of a new time for Aaron. He will become a great man and will show everyone the true meaning of being black. Having faith in him, even though the rest of the world is against him, will be like cheering him on to victory in the years to come.

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hughes hunter shaw priddy  

I NSIDE T HIS I SSUE Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional boxer who is frequently cited as the greatest boxer in history. By Shee...

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