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Sanya Richards-Ross: A Thank You To My Gold-Medal Mom

By Sanya Richards-Ross, Four-Time Olympic Track And Field Gold Medalist | May 07, 2015, 11:16 a.m. (ET)

It’s cliché, I know; we all believe we have the world’s greatest mom, but in a way that challenges logic, I believe it’s true! God in His infinite wisdom always perfectly pairs a child with their mother and I am so grateful that God saw it fit to bless me with my angel, my mom.


I could never thank you enough for the countless sacrifices you’ve made, the million and one encouraging words you’ve spoken, the always-available shoulder to cry on you’ve provided and the ear to listen you’ve given. You have been my rock and role model, and on this Mother’s Day I am excited to be given this amazing opportunity to share just how much I love and appreciate you.

I started running at a very young age, and my mom and dad were always my biggest supporters. My dad was always pushing me and challenging me to be better, while my mom was always there to provide that necessary balance.

“Don’t push my baby too hard!” she’d say. “She’s a princess, not a machine!” It was the exact balance I needed to be the best that I could be. My mom was always super supportive of me on the track, while always reminding me that I was beautiful, strong and enough without my track success.

My mom has always been admired for her looks, but what most people don’t see is her even more beautiful spirit. She has always reminded me that our inner beauty was most important as women and by nurturing our character and having a servant’s heart that inner beauty would radiate and be undeniable. She always helped me to prioritize and understand what was most important.

As a young, female athlete I struggled with my femininity. I fell victim to the idea that fierce female athletes had to be tomboys and always appear tough. Although I definitely enjoyed playing outside and was rougher than most young girls, I too liked hair, nails and make-up. It was my mom’s example and encouragement that allowed me to embrace my femininity and not feel like I had to choose. She helped me find my strength in knowing that I am my best when I bring all of who I am to everything that I do.

My mom has also been a shining example of what it takes to be a great wife. Married for over 30 years, she has shown me what it looks like to be committed, loving and nurturing. I admire so much her devotion to her family and only hope to be half the mother she has been to me and my sister!

Mom, there just aren’t enough ways to thank you for always being there for me. For loving me unconditionally and propping me up when I couldn’t stand tall on my own. I’ve been blessed to be on this amazing journey and I couldn’t imagine a greater woman to share these moments with.

Happy Mother’s Day to my Gold-Medal Mom, Sharon Richards. I LOVE YOU!

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Sanya Richards-Ross