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During the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Canadian Larry Lemieux was headed for what looked like a certain medal. But when he saw two men in trouble from Singapore that had capsized in turbulent waves that day, he took action.
Lemieux went off course and saved the lives of those two men, but in the process, he forfeited an almost certain medal.
His bravery was not unappreciated. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch presented Lemieux with a porcelain award adorned with the Olympic insignia soon after the games
Wilma Glodean Rudolph
Wilma Glodean Rudolph should not have been an Olympian. Born prematurely, as she grew up, Rudolph was struck with scarlet fever, double pneumonia and eventually contracted polio. In order to receive treatment, Rudolph’s mother had to take her to a black hospital more than 50 miles away.
Showing off her glory, Wilma Rudolph
Rudolph went on to set Olympic records in track and field that still stand today.
Immortalized on stampShe was a product of the pre-Title IX era, literally having to make her way through sports with perseverance and determination beyond the norm.
Her work paid off, she became the first US woman to win three gold medals in the track and field events. Rudolph arose out of the 1960 Rome Olympics and earned herself the nickname, “The Tennessee Tornado,” aka, the fastest woman on earth.
She holds the world record in the 100 meter and 200 meter races.
By the age of 12, Rudolph had put her disabilities behind her and started her dream of Olympic immortality.
At 16, she earned a ticket on the 1956 Olympic team and came home with a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter relay.
But it is for 1960 that she is most remembered.
Her inspiration for those Olympics was the one and only, Jesse Owens. Who sits ahead on our tribute.
More: find here Olympic stories of inspiration