By Sanya Richards-Ross, Four-Time Olympic Track And Field Champion | March 21, 2017, 5:28 p.m. (ET)

 

I never imagined as a young girl that I would be a part of Team USA and the remarkable legacy of women in sports. I’ve never taken for granted that years ago many talented women were not allowed to participate in sports and that in some parts of the world, even today, still many young girls don’t have equal access. I can’t imagine my life without the amazing opportunities I received from sports. From the lifelong lessons of hard work and perseverance to traveling around the world doing what I love to do. Sports has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Before the 2012 Olympic Games I started to feel a powerful shift in how impactful the presence of women were becoming in sports, but in London there was nothing more gratifying than knowing those games were dubbed “The Year of the Woman.” For the first time in history, women were represented by all participating nations. To add icing to the cake… Team USA’s track and field women earned more individual gold medals than the men!

Sometimes you’re just giving your best in life – doing what you love and trusting your journey and you end up a part of something so much bigger than yourself.

Being one of the women to win gold in London felt like the most amazing culmination of a lifetime of hard work and dreaming. It was like living a fairytale; but the best part has been the response I receive from young girls all around the world.

When a young girl tells me I’m her hero or I’ve inspired her, I think of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Serena Williams and all the wonderful women of Team USA that inspired me on my journey, and I thank God for the opportunity to do that for someone else!