Rudy was born in 1988 with rare multiple birth defects. His legs had not formed properly, making it impossible for him to walk. He underwent 15 operations before he turned 5 years old. Doctors said Rudy's best option was to amputate both legs from above the knee so he could be fitted with artificial limbs. By the time he got these new high-tech legs, Rudy was an athletic powerhouse. "I swim, I run, I bike and I play football. I ride my skateboard. And I'm just unstoppable," he said.
In 1999, Robin Williams—who was Rudy's partner in a charity triathlon—introduced this little guy with a big heart to Oprah and the world. "It feels that I'm, like, helping people," he told Oprah. "And inside it feels like I'm doing something good in my life."