Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

If you want to be no.1, train like no. 2: Sanya Richards-Ross

The secret to Sanya Richards-Ross’s success was staying hungry and setting new goals

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Oct 23, 2018, 01.26 AM IST
Sanya Richards-Ross is a brand ambassador for the Delhi Half-Marathon.
It was while going to her school as a nine-year-old that Sanya Richards-Ross first saw a mural of Merlene Ottey, a former Jamaican sprinter who has nine Olympic medals to her name, and fell in love with running. She wanted to be like Ottey and conquer the track and field arena. Around two decades later, Sanya won a gold in 400m at the 2012 Olympics to fulfil her dream. She also won 400m relay gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

In India recently as brand ambassador for the Delhi Half-Marathon, Sanya told ET, “Right now India is in a great spot where kids are really falling in love with running and you have a great athlete in Hima Das who can be a great role model. Although I know the country shouldn’t put too much pressure on her but that's so difficult. But at the same time she is blazing a trail that many young people can follow. I think it's a unique opportunity to highlight what she is doing and get young people excited about following her footsteps.”

Sanya had a long and glittering career and her advice for the young athletes is “to always remember what Maurice Green said, 'If you want to be number one, you must train like number two’.”

“For me it was about staying hungry every season and setting new goals.

“It's also about picking great people to be around you. I was fortunate to have a phenomenal coach. My dad was my manager, my mom traveled with me and they really supported me and helped me stay focused.

“And then I had a really great sports psychologist and physical therapist who helped me stay mentally tough and helped my body stay strong. I give a lot of credit to having a great team that allowed me to remain successful for a long time,” she added.

Sanya’s success is not limited to track and field. Apart from being an Olympic gold medallist, she is a three-time author, a businesswoman and a mother. And the reason for her success beyond the sports arena is an advice she got from her father at a very young age.

“My dad used to tell me not to be one-dimensional. What he meant by that was even though I was very good in sports, he wanted me not to be afraid of trying new things and to be good at many things. That started out with my school work. He wanted me to be good in school, so I maintained straight As in high-school and very close to that in college.

“As I got older, I tried several things, not just in track and field. I was always the one who tried to meet new people, network and I was preparing for my book towards the end of my career.

“He didn't want me to define myself as just an athlete because he knew that one day it would come to an end. So he just wanted me to have the confidence to always try new things.”

Sanya has no intention to get into coaching as she doesn’t have the “tremendous patience” needed to be a good coach but she wants to “continue mentoring young people” so that she can “stay connected” to the sport she loves.

Developing world-class athletes is a Herculean task, especially in a country like India. But Sanya has some ideas.

“…after being here for a few of days and talking to some amazing and key people, I think what I would do if it were my responsibility to develop athletes in India is I will start with the youth and really try to build the infrastructure around athletics where the athletes know that it's a positive route of success.

“I know most people here focus on education and feel that the way to be successful is to excel in school. I think it's important that young people understand that they can excel in school but there is also tremendous support in athletics. I think that starts with finding those athletes while they are young and letting them enjoy athletics but also ensure that they feel well supported throughout the country. I think that would be my initial planning.”

Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.

Other useful Links

Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service