Sanya Richards-Ross

Inducted 2015

Running is a way for people to get to a destination as quick as possible on foot. Sanya Richards-Ross just happened to do that faster than most people. Her journey from Jamaica, all the way to the top of the Olympic podium, is admirable.

Richards-Ross moved from Jamaica to Fort Lauderdale where she attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School. At Aquinas, Richards-Ross quickly became one of top runners in the country. She was a part of four consecutive team state championships from 1999-2002, as well as a nine-time individual state champion. Her nine individual state titles include four 100m titles – tied for most in state history – three 200m titles, one 400m title and one long jump title. National recognition would soon follow as she would become a two-time Florida High School Female Athlete of the Year, the 2002 Gatorade National High School Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, and set the high school 400m record with a time of 50.69.

Richards-Ross attended the University of Texas to run track for the Longhorns. In her freshman year Richards-Ross won the NCAA 400m championship and was the runner-up at the NCAA Indoor 200m and 400m events.

In international competition she proved to be just as successful. First appearing as a member of the 4x400m relay team at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, France, Richards-Ross won gold in the event. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, she won her first gold medal in Olympic competition as part of the 4x400m relay team. Overall, Richards-Ross has received 13 medals in international competition, including five Olympic medals (four gold medals and one bronze). It may have taken longer than she had hoped, but she finally won her first individual Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Games, taking home the top prize in the 400m.

In 2005, she was selected as the recipient for the Visa Champion and Humanitarian Athlete of the Year. She is also the founder of the Sanya Richards Fast Track Program, which benefits children in need in her native Jamaica.