Famed Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross has gleaned some powerful life lessons about hope, grace and the power of perseverance, revealing details of her personal journey in her book, “Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me about God and Life.”
Richards-Ross, 32, is hoping the book helps inspire others, as she shares the trials and triumphs she’s faced throughout her remarkable track and field career. The former elite athlete recently told Faithwire that she always had Olympic aspirations, recounting how she once told a teacher at the tender age of 9 that she’d be a future Olympic champ — and she was right.
Along the way, Richards-Ross said she’s learned some transformational lessons that she wanted to share with the public.
“I always wanted to write a book,” Richards-Ross told Faithwire on Monday. “I’m really happy I waited until the end of my career, though, because it gave me a lot of perspective and it gave me the time to really give it my all, and so my hope is that my book will inspire people who are on their journey to their best selves.”
The Olympic gold medalist revealed that the toughest time in her career was back in 2008 when she won a bronze medal in Beijing, but was widely expected to win the gold.
“I certainly felt crushed and felt like I didn’t understand why it happened,” she said, noting, though, that she felt victorious after later winning the gold at the London Olympics in 2012. “It made me really appreciate 2012 so much more.”
Richards-Ross also revealed in the memoir that she had an abortion in 2008 just weeks before competing in the Olympics, a decision that she said was quite difficult. Read more about the abortion decision here, as it was not a topic of conversation during Richards-Ross’ interview with Faithwire.
It was after the 2012 Olympics that Richards-Ross said she started to realize that she would soon need to exit sports.
She had a surgery to repair an injury to her right big toe on that was less-than-successful. By the time 2016 rolled around, she was forced to retire.
“2016 was tough, because that was the year I actually had to let it go,” she said. “But I was kind of preparing my mind, body and spirit for it. I think that not all of our blessings are meant to last a lifetime.”
So, Richards-Ross said that she started to turn her attention toward the other plans she believes God has for her life. In that vein, she’s now working to encourage people who face difficult circumstances to find solace in good people who they can lean on, especially when it comes to life’s disappointments.
“Sometimes, we have to just trust the pace of our lives and know that God knows best,” she said.
Speaking about her own journey into the Christian faith, Richards-Ross said she accepted Christ and was baptized at the age of 13 after seeing how one of her aunts — who was also a Christian — was living her life.
Faith, Richards-Ross said, is the most important thing in her life today.
“When I moved to the United States, my aunt Maureen was a women of really strong faith,” she said. “There was always something I truly admired about her that I wanted for myself. [There was a] peace and joy that wasn’t contingent on what was going on in her life. I’ve been walking with the Lord ever since.”
But despite always holding on to her faith, Richards-Ross said that she, too, has had to remember the importance of keeping one’s eyes on the Lord.
“Sometimes on a journey you’re so focused on this goal, sometimes you lose yourself and forget your spiritual walk and spiritual journey,” she said, noting, though, that God’s love has been especially profound in her life. “It’s the most rewarding thing when you do feel God’s love in almost an indescribable level, which I’ve experienced in my life when I literally feel like God has held me in his arms and told me how much he loves for me and cares for me.”
While Richards-Ross said she doesn’t know a life without trusting God, she had some advice for people who might be skeptics or who are currently feeling lost: “Even if you don’t know what to pray for … there is a God out there and you can talk to him.”
Find out more about “Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me about God and Life.”