Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross Talks Running, Marriage, and UT

Olympic gold medalist and track star Sanya Richards-Ross, Life Member, Outstanding Young Texas Ex, is on a hot streak leading into this year’s Olympic Games.

Heading to London, the former Longhorn has qualified for the U.S. team by winning the 400m and, over the weekend, claiming third place in the 200m finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Richards-Ross already has three Olympic medals under her belt—a gold medal in the 4x400m relay at the 2004 Games in Athens and at the 2008 Games in Beijing, and a bronze medal at the 2008 Games for the 400m. She is also a World Champion, taking the gold in the 400m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, and, earlier this  year, at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Here, she sits down with The Alcalde to talk track, marriage, and, of course, UT.

London will be your third trip to the Olympics. How much confidence do you have leading up to the Games this year?

I am pretty confident going in to these Olympic Trials and hopefully the Olympic Games, however, I’ve learned that you can win every race and still come up short of your goal. This year I just want to be patient and consistently work on perfecting my race.

Your husband and fellow UT alum, Aaron Ross, won his second Super Bowl ring this year with the New York Giants. Is it more nerve-wracking to watch him play in the Super Bowl or to run in the Olympics?

It’s hard to say! It’s difficult to watch him in the Super Bowl because I love him so much and I want nothing more than for him to be successful. On the other hand, competing in the Olympics is the culmination of a lifelong dream in 50 seconds or less, so that’s pretty intense!

How does Aaron’s success motivate you?

Aaron is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. He’s a great guy, hard-working, disciplined, and motivated. He inspires me to be better, to trust myself, and never give up. His winning a second Super Bowl makes me want my gold medal that much more.

Standing on an Olympic starting line, what kind of nerves do you feel?

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. But, the nerves turn into adrenaline and usually you are able to give a great performance, hopefully one of the best of your life!

You’ve been featured on WeTV’s Platinum Weddings, a star-studded Foot Locker commercial, and as an international spokesperson. How did UT help prepare you for success?

Attending The University of Texas helped prepare me in so many ways! Attending such a high-profile university gave me confidence due to the high-level education I received and plethora of resources at my disposal, while also inspiring me to uphold the university’s esteemed reputation.

How did you feel being inducted into the University of Texas Women’s Hall of Honor in 2011?

It was one of the greatest honors of my career and life. The University of Texas means the world to me and being an alumnus is a source of great pride for me, so to be recognized by the university that way so early in my career made me feel that I may mean as much to the UT family as they mean to me.

How did your monthly blog with espnW get started? What are some of the things you hope your readers learn?

EspnW approached me about writing a blog leading into an Olympic year, looking for the perspective of a female athlete and her journey to compete in the Olympic Games and how that fit in to the rest of her life. I hope readers gain further insight into who I am not only as an athlete, but as a person as well.

Should you reach the podium, what are the odds you throw up a Hook ’em sign?

One hundred percent!

File photo courtesy Sanya Richards-Ross.



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