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Richards-Ross Runs Final Penn Relays Race
- Updated: 05/01/2016
Five days after announcing on social media that she will retire after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, American quarter-miler Sanya Richards-Ross ran her final Penn Relays race Saturday (30th) in the US city of Philadelphia, anchoring her team to victory and speaking through tears at a post-race press conference.
“This is my last season competing, and it’s been great to reflect on how blessed I’ve been. My teammates gave me an amazing lead and it felt almost like I was running a victory lap. It’s a little bit emotional, and I wanted to take in the moment warming up,” said the 2012 Olympic champion, after running the glory leg (52.63) in the USA vs. the World 4x400m relay.
She continued: “It’s been amazing to see the impact that I, just a runner, have had. There have been a lot of girls coming up to me asking me not to retire, and I’m trying not to get emotional because every race will be my last one. The Penn Relays is special because even in college I was here running…I love all of my fans for supporting me.”
In an Instagram message to her followers, Richards-Ross wrote, “After over a decade of indescribable successes and challenges, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will mark the end of my 12th and final professional season. After my third foot surgery last November, I worked tirelessly to recoup and recover. I put my blood, sweat and tears into the career of my dreams and experienced profound growth and immeasurable rewards along the way.”
Speaking at a Penn Relays press conference in Philadelphia Friday, the quarter-miler said that her injuries aside, her husband Aaron has wanted to baby forever. She noted previously that after the 2012 London Olympics, where she won gold in the 400m and 4x400m relay, she thought about taking a break from the sport to start a family.
Richards-Ross, who first competed at the relay carnival in 2003 when, as a freshman, she anchored the University of Texas 4x400m relay team to victory, said she was looking forward to leaving it all on the track and having a great run in the 4x400m in the USA vs. the World segment for elite athletes. Her participation was her first race for the season.
Richards-Ross underwent foot surgery that hampered her 2013 and 2014 seasons. She failed to make the world championship team in 2013 due to the toe injury. Early in the 2015 season, she ran a 49.95 but then failed to reach the finals at the U.S. championships. She, however, competed at the World championships in Beijing by leading off the mile relay team that was defeated by Jamaica.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Richards-Ross won gold in the 400m after finishing third at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She also won Olympic gold in the 4×400m race at the 2004 Athens Olympics, the 2008 Olympics, and the 2012 Olympics. She is also the 2009 400m World Champion and a multiple World Championships relay gold medalist.
Richards-Ross, 31, rewrote Valerie Brisco-Hooks’ US record of 48.83secs with 48.70 at the end of the 2006 season and was named IAAF 2006 Female World Athlete of the Year.
She will look to make her fourth U.S. Olympic team at the 2016 Olympic track and field trials in July. In order to compete in Rio de Janeiro, she will need to finish within the top three in the 400m final set for July 3.
The Jamaican-born athlete told TrackLife International one of her dreams is to tour Africa, which she is unable to do now with her training and speaking engagements. Retirement would allow her to live that dream.