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There's no denying the impact track and field star Wilma Rudolph had on the sport and the advancement of Black women in athletics. Afflicted with polio as a child, the Tennessee native didn’t learn to walk until she was six years old and wore a leg brace until the age of 12. By the time she was 16, Rudolph took home the bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympic games. By the time she was 20, Rudolph had three gold medals to her name from the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Because of her amazing athleticism, the sprinter earned nicknames such as "The Black Tornado," "The Flash," and "The Black Gazelle" to honor her blazing fast speed and resilience.
As a part of their Women's History Month celebrations, on Tuesday athleisure brand Roots Of Fight dropped a capsule paying homage to Rudolph and other iconic Black women in the civil rights and popular culture like Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks.
A senior team filled with women, managing partner Natalie Dimbleby explained to Yahoo Sports why it's so important to bring attention to more female icons who shaped history forever.
"We’re fortunate to live in a time and place where women's issues are discussed, and we have opportunities small and large to try to remedy what has been wrong for a long time," Dimbleby said. "As a company, one of our strengths is that our senior leadership team has proudly achieved gender parity. We know the importance of representation, and the need to highlight women’s contributions—historically overlooked and under-celebrated. It was really important to our team that our company begin to celebrate exceptional women, and that we do our part to tell more herstory.
"Roots of Fight is honored to spotlight these three powerful women: Wilma Rudolph, Maya Angelou, and Rosa Parks. Each persisted in her own way. Through hardship and against odds. As a brand, that persistence is what we seek to celebrate and honor—those who persevered, overcame hardship, achieved, and left the world a little better for it. I couldn’t be more honored that our company has been entrusted to tell their stories."
Styles include shirts and sweatshirts splashed with Rudolph, Angelou and Parks' name and image. We linked a few of our favorites below, but you can shop the entire collection at Roots of Fight.
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