Most Olympic athletes dream of the medal stand, of gold around their neck and their country’s flag raised to the heavens. Sanya Richards-Ross did not. She didn’t let herself get that far. She knows that may have been her downfall four years ago, that she got ahead of herself at the Olympics in Beijing, when she was favored to win the 400 meters and led going down the stretch yet faded to finish third. So Richards-Ross didn’t dream about standing, she dreamed about striding, about coming down those last 50 meters and finishing what she started.
It turns out that if you concentrate on the work, the reward will come. It came to Richards-Ross, 27, as she completed the picture and capped her career with that long-awaited gold in the 400.
At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Sanya showcased her tireless work ethic by collecting two more Gold Medals (400m & 4x400m Relay), adding to an outstanding year in which she had already won the 400m Indoor World Championship. She also won her sixth National Outdoor Championship in the 400m.
Prior to Sanya’s 2012 campaign, she bounced back from an injury shortened 2010 by winning the 2011 4x400m Relay in South Korea to claim her record fifth career World Championship Gold Medal. In 2009, Sanya won her first individual Gold Medal at the World Championships, winning the 400m, in addition to claiming Gold in the 4x400m Relay. For the fifth consecutive year, Sanya was the #1 ranked 400m female runner in the world. She also received both the IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year Award and the Jesse Owens Award, for the second time each.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Sanya proudly represented the United States by bringing home a Gold Medal in the 4x400m Relay, as well as a Bronze Medal in the individual 400m. In the 2007 World Championships, Sanya won a Gold Medal in the 4x400m Relay.
Sanya’s pre-2007 career highlights include a 2006 400m USA Outdoor Championship, and 2006 World Cup Championships in the 200m and 400m. In 2005, Sanya was the USA Outdoor 400m Champion and the World Outdoor 400m Silver Medalist; that year, she was also awarded the Visa Humanitarian Athlete of the Year for her work with her namesake charity, The Sanya Richards Fast Track Program, which benefits children in need in her native Jamaica.
At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Sanya won her first career Olympic Gold Medal in the 4x400m Relay. The year prior, Sanya was a World Outdoor 4x400m Relay Gold Medalist, the USA Outdoor 400m Champion, and the USATF Youth Athlete of the Year.
Sanya was born on February 26, 1985 in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2002, she was named National High School Female Athlete of the Year, USA Track and Field’s Youth Athlete of the Year, and Track and Field News Women’s Prep Athlete of the Year. Sanya attended the University of Texas, where she was an NCAA Champion.
"Poised, personable and oh-so fast, Sanya Richards is ready to take over as the face of U.S. track and field..."- AP
"Glamorous queen of the track."- London Times
"The sky is the limit for Sanya."- Director of Track & Field Baylor University