Richards-Ross after winning gold medal of 4x400 relay during the 2012 Olympic Games.
February 26, 1985|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight||137 lb (62 kg)|
|Sport||Track and field Sprinting|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||400m: 48.70 (2006, AR)|
Sanya Richards-Ross (born February 26, 1985) is a Jamaican-American former track and field athlete who competed internationally for the United States. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won gold in the 400 metres after finishing third at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Richards-Ross has also won Olympic gold in the 4×400 meters relay at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2008 Summer Olympics, and the 2012 Summer Olympics. She was the best 400m runner in the world for a decade, ranking No. 1 in the world from 2005-2009 and again in 2012.
At the Athens Olympics in 2004, Richards was part of the US team which finished first in the 4×400 meters relay. She has won a silver medal in the 400 meters at 2005 World Championships in Athletics. In 2006, together with Jeremy Wariner (400 m) and Asafa Powell (100 m) she won her sixth out of six IAAF Golden League events in the same season, which earned her a total of $250,000. She broke Valerie Brisco-Hooks' US record of 48.83 with a 48.70 at the end of the 2006 season and was named IAAF 2006 Female World Athlete of the Year. Her 48.70 ranks her as the #7 woman performer of all time. It is the only time a woman has run under 49 seconds without another competitor running within a second of them in the same race.
After failing to qualify for the 400 m at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka due to illness which caused her to finish fourth in the US trials, Richards-Ross was the favourite to win gold in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and qualified fastest for the final, but went out of the blocks too quickly and was overtaken in the finishing straight by Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain and Shericka Williams of Jamaica, consigning her to the bronze medal.
During the 2009 season, Richards-Ross took the 400 m national title in 50.05 seconds, finishing over half a second faster than the second placed Debbie Dunn. Although she expected faster times, she stated that winning the 2009 World Championships in Berlin was her number one goal. A win in 49.46 s at the Golden Gala in Rome broke Marita Koch's record for most sub-50 second runs, bringing Richards' career total to 36. Coming up to the World Championships, Richards won her fourth Golden League race in the 400 m with the time of 49.34 seconds and won her first global championship in the 400 m at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin with a world leading time of 49.00 seconds. Richards-Ross also anchored team USA to a gold medal in the women's 4 × 400 m relay in the sixth fastest time in history of 3.17.83 minutes, Richards-Ross split time in the relay was unofficially 48.43 seconds. After a career defining World Championships, Richards-Ross went on to win her final two Golden League races with a new world leading times of 48.94 seconds (Zurich) and 48.83 seconds (Brussels) to share in the $1M dollar jackpot with men's 3000 m/5000 m winner Kenenisa Bekele and women's pole vault winner Yelena Isinbayeva, each receiving US$333,333; this was the third time Richards had won the Golden League Jackpot. Sanya Richards-Ross ended her massive season on a high by winning silver in the 200 m at the IAAF World Athletics Final behind world champion Allyson Felix with a time of 22.29 seconds, and by winning gold in the 400m with a time of 49.95 seconds; achieving her 41st sub-50 second 400m run.
After an injury that prematurely ended her 2010 season, Richards-Ross bounced back in 2011 to run a 49.66 just prior to the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. She wound up seventh, however, in the final. Richards-Ross later returned to top form in the 4 × 400 m relay, this time running the lead-off leg in 49.1, setting the team up for victory. It was her record fifth gold medal from the World Championships.
At the 2012 London Olympics on August 5, 2012, Richards-Ross finished the women's 400m in 49.55 to win the gold medal for the US. Richards-Ross also ran the anchor leg of the gold medal-winning US women's 4 × 400 m relay team. Following the Olympics, Richards-Ross won the remaining Diamond League meetings over 400m in Stockholm (49.89) and Zurich (50.21). The win in Stockholm improved her career total of sub-50 second races to an unchallenged 46.
Richards-Ross, recovering from foot surgery, started her track season in May 2014 in Jamaica. She was able to run a season's best of 49.66 and win Diamond League races in Paris and Brussels. Richards-Ross suffered a career-ending injury to her right hamstring at the Olympic trials on July 1, 2016. Shortly afterwards she announced that she would retire in lieu of competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She was a commentator for the track and field events at the Olympics.
Richards-Ross started running at the age of 7. She was a 2002 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, where she finished with a cumulative 4.0 GPA and was pegged the National High School Female Athlete of the Year. At St. Thomas Aquinas, she lettered in track and field, and basketball. In high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society. 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. She became a naturalized American citizen in 2002.
Before leaving Jamaica for the U.S., she attended the Vaz Preparatory and the Immaculate Conception High School. According to the Registrar's public database on the website of the University of Texas at Austin, Richards attended the University between 2002 and 2005. She is a singer and a dancer, regularly performing for family and friends.
During her freshman year at Texas in 2003, she began dating Longhorn football cornerback Aaron Ross, who later played for the New York Giants in the NFL. The two were engaged in 2007 and married on February 26, 2010. Their wedding was featured on an episode of Platinum Weddings. The pair had their first child, Aaron Jermaine Ross II, on August 12, 2017.  That same month, she admitted to having an abortion before she flew to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics.
Sanya stated that the decision to have the abortion broke her spirit and it took her years to forgive herself. Sanya also stated
It wasn't like, "Okay, cool, I'm healed, I'm recovered, I feel great about this journey." It took a long, long time, to understand that I am not the sum total of my decisions and choices but I am a child of God. I am capable of any sin. And God loves me in spite of my sinful nature. That has helped me to heal.
In 2010, Richards starred in "The Educators", an Antoine Fuqua-directed Foot Locker commercial featuring Rajon Rondo, Amar'e Stoudemire, Justin Tuck, and DeSean Jackson. This commercial was satirised by The Onion.
On July 25, 2013, Richards-Ross' reality TV show, "Glam and Gold", premiered on WE tv. According to its website, each hour-long episode of the docu-series follows Richards-Ross as she juggles appearances, runs a business, and balances life with her husband and family. Primarily shot at their home in Austin, the series also visits Jacksonville, Florida, New York City, and Jamaica, where Sanya took team SRR for an Olympic victory lap and celebration.
She was inducted into the Texas Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.
|Representing the United States|
|2002||World Junior Championships||Kingston, Jamaica||3rd||200m||23.09 (wind: -0.2 m/s)|
|3rd (h)||4 × 400 m relay||3:35.84|
|2003||World Championships||Paris, France||11th (sf)||400 m||51.32|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:22.63|
|2004||Olympic Games||Athens, Greece||6th||400 m||50.19|
|2005||World Championships||Helsinki, Finland||2nd||400 m||49.74|
|World Athletics Final||Monaco||1st||400 m||49.52|
|2006||World Indoor Championships||Moscow, Russia||9th (sf)||400 m||52.46|
|World Athletics Final||Stuttgart, Germany||2nd||200 m||22.17|
|World Cup||Athens, Greece||1st||400 m||48.70|
|2007||World Championships||Osaka, Japan||5th||200 m||22.70|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:18.55|
|2008||Olympic Games||Beijing, China||3rd||400 m||49.93|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:18.54|
|2009||World Championships||Berlin, Germany||1st||400m||49.00|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:17.83|
|2011||World Championships||Daegu, South Korea||7th||400 m||51.32|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:18.09|
|2012||World Indoor Championships||Istanbul, Turkey||1st||400 m||50.79|
|2nd||4 × 400 m relay||3:28.79|
|Olympic Games||London, United Kingdom||5th||200 m||22.39|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:16.88|
|2014||World Relay Championships||Nassau, Bahamas||1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:21.73|
|2015||World Relay Championships||Nassau, Bahamas||1st||Distance medley relay||10:36.50 (WR)|
|1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:19.39|
|World Championships||Beijing, China||2nd||4 × 400 m relay||3:19.44|
|60 meters||7.21||Lincoln, Nebraska, United States||February 28, 2004|
|100 meters||10.97*||Shanghai, China||September 28, 2007|
|200 meters||22.09||New York City, USA||June 8, 2012|
|400 meters||48.70 - National Record||Athens, Greece||September 16, 2006|
| USA Track & Field Youth Athlete of the Year
| Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
| Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year