Sanya Richards-Ross

American track star Sanya Richards-Ross won Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008, as part of the U.S. 400-meter relay team, and went on to win gold in the women’s 400 meters in 2012.


Born in 1985 in Jamaica, Sanya Richards-Ross moved to the United States in her early teens to pursue her athletic dreams. She excelled at track in high school and at the University of Texas, and won several NCAA championships in 2003. In 2004, Richards-Ross won an Olympic gold medal as part of the U.S. 400-meter relay team. She earned two more medals at the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2012, Richards-Ross won the 400-meter race at the World Indoor Championships. She went on to win gold in the women's 400 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympics, held in London.

Early Life

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, on February 26, 1985, Sanya Richards-Ross moved to the United States with her family at the age of 12. They lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a place her parents would better suit their aspiring track star's career. Richards-Ross demonstrated her talents early on, scoring a silver medal in the 400-meter event and a bronze medal in the 200-meter event at the 2002 World Junior Championships. That same year, she was named the Gatorade National High School Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

While a student at the University of Texas, Richards-Ross became the 2003 NCAA 400-meter champion. That same year, she won the NCAA Indoor Championship in the 200-meter event. Competing at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Richards-Ross helped bring home gold in the 400-meter relay.

Track Star

Richards-Ross took the track world by storm in 2006 with two victories at the World Cup, taking the top spot in both the 200-meter and 400-meter events. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she earned two medals. She helped take the gold in the 400-meter relay, and scored her first individual medal in the 200-meter event.

Richards-Ross began struggling with some health issues in 2007, and had to sit out the 2010 season because of an injury. She quickly recovered, however, and became the 400-meter World Indoor Champion in 2012. After receiving a bronze medal in 2008, Richards-Ross began to focus on achieving a personal goal: Earning a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

In August 2012, Richards-Ross achieved her goal for the gold, winning the women's 400 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, and becoming a three-time Olympic gold medalist. The win marked her first independent gold medal. "I worked so hard for that, and I prepared for this moment over and over for the last four years," Richards-Ross said after the race, according to the Washington Post.

Following her gold-medal win, Richards-Ross went on to compete in the 200-meter final, but failed to medal in the race, finishing fifth in 22.39 seconds.

Personal Life

Richards-Ross is married to her college boyfriend, Aaron Ross, a professional football player. He played with the New York Giants from 2007 to 2011, and is now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Outside of competition, Richards-Ross runs the Sanya Richards Fast Track Program to help children in her native nation, Jamaica.

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