It’s been four years in the making, but Sanya Richards-Ross has finally closed the deal.
When the starting gun fired yesterday in the Olympic Stadium, memories of her bronze-medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Games fueled the three-time Olympian to sprint to the finish line and win gold in the final women’s 400-meter race in London.
Richards-Ross tore around the curve in 49.55 seconds to win her first individual Olympic gold-medal. The victory made her the first American woman to win the 400m since 1984.
Before the Games began, the former Longhorn chatted with The Alcalde about her feelings going into this year’s Olympics.
“Standing on the start line at the Olympics is one of the most nerve-wracking moments one can experience. It’s something you dream about and work for every day for such a long time and when it actually happens it can be overwhelming,” Richards-Ross said. “But the nerves turn into adrenaline and usually you are able to give a great performance, hopefully one of the best of your life!”
And she did just that.
Despite a quick start, Richards-Ross trailed Russia at the final turn of the race. But she surged to the finish line in the last 50 meters. Punching her fist in the air, Richards-Ross clinched the long-awaited gold—giving the U.S. its first track and field gold medal in the London Olympics.
After the race, Richards-Ross wrapped herself in the American flag and dashed to the stands to embrace her husband, fellow former Longhorn and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive cornerback Aaron Ross. Ross took time off from NFL training camp to support his wife in London.
Richards-Ross’ success continued today when she won her qualifying heat for the 200m. If she wins that race, Richards-Ross will become only the third woman to win both the 400m and 200m races. She will also race in the 4x400m relay beginning Friday, Aug. 10.
Photo courtesy André Zehetbauer.