We had the pleasure of conducting an in-depth interview with Sanya Richards-Ross in October for an upcoming issue of Austin Woman Magazine . We talked about everything from her wins to injuries, family, workout tips, nutrition regimen, the ups and downs of reality television, as well as future plans. Make sure to pick up the January issue of Austin Woman Magazine to see the full interview and get the scoop from Sanya. The article will focus on empowerment for women in sports; featuring two other dynamic women athletes.
Excerpts from Interview with Sanya Richards-Ross for AW Magazine
FG: Sanya, thanks so much for taking the time to conduct this interview. We really appreciate it. I understand you started running at an early age. Were you the first person in your family to run and compete, or did anyone else in your participate in competitive sports?
SRR: Well, actually my mom was actually a really good track and field runner through high school, but my dad actually was a great soccer player. He actually played for the Jamaica national team…
SRR: And went to the highest level with soccer, but I didn’t know it when I was seven and I started running. I did not know both my parents were such great athletes until I’d gotten a little bit older. So I kind of got into it on my own and I found out that both of my parents were very athletic. My mom was undefeated in high school…
SRR: So she ran and, like I said, my dad went to the highest level. So, yeah, I definitely came from a very athletic background.[chuckle]
FG: Yes, great genes! [laughter] Wonderful genes! I’m not sure if a lot of people know that about you.
FG: Who are your favorite legendary athletes and have you had the opportunity to meet any of them?
SRR: Yes, a few of my favorite, especially in track and field, Jackie Joyner-Kersee has always been one of my favorite athletes. I just love her story and her fight. She won the silver medal in her first Olympics, and came back and won the gold and she’s just… For someone so fierce, she’s just so humble and she’s a great philanthropist. I just love her spirit. And so, I actually know her really, really well and that’s just been a blessing to get to know her. And being from Jamaica, one of my greatest idols growing up was Merlene Ottey. She was a 100-meter sprinter, and represented our country and actually right up until she was, I wanna say 50, she was still competing.
SRR: Yeah, just amazing tenacity, and drive, and dedication, and I also have met her quite a few times as well. So those are definitely my two heroes in track and field while I was growing up.
FGG: Terrific mentors. I admire them a great deal as well, and I see that same spirit and presence in you as well. So they’ve obviously been a good influence because it resonates with what you do and what you’ve accomplished.
FGG: What’s your nutrition plan look like? What are your favorite healthy foods to eat?
SRR: Well, I am a really boring eater. [chuckle] I’m not one of those people that eats to live. I don’t love to eat, and so I really don’t have a… I don’t really struggle with my diet, I don’t really change it that much. I just stick to the same things I like. I love my grilled chicken and grilled salmons. I usually try… I don’t eat red meat or pork and so my diet’s really simple and clean. I just eat lots of fruits and vegetables and high protein. When I’m in training, I’ll always usually have one or two protein shakes a day to supplement my diet and to help to treat my muscles especially when I… My lifting gets very intense ’cause when I’m really focus on that. And one of my tricks as well is I juice a lot. My dad actually always helps me with that during a season and juicing my fruits and vegetables to make sure I get the full colors in my diet, so my beets. And he does all that stuff.
SRR: So yeah, I’m you know boring. Egg whites in the morning, salad for lunch and salmon and chicken for dinner, that’s usually kind of routine. I recently cut breads out my diet.
FG: Oh, wow!
SRR: Yeah, and I love breads and this has been… Only been two weeks, so it’s been a challenge but…
FG: Do you miss it? Do you miss the bread?[laughter]
SRR: I still do. Everyone said it’s gonna pass in three weeks. I’m waiting for two more days to pass…
FG: Let me know! Please let me know if it subsides.[laughter]
FG: If the craving subsides, I might consider cutting it out myself.[laughter]
FG: So that’s a nice diet. I’ve seriously considered cutting the bread out as well. It’s just a guilty indulgence for me. I should be extremely motivated especially after seeing the major difference it makes in people who cut it out of their diets.I can definitely appreciate you’re doing that. Good for you! Please let me know how it goes.[chuckle]
SRR: Yeah everyone… Everyone says you feel so much better that eventually you don’t want anymore and I’m looking forward to getting to that point.
FG: That’s what I’ve heard. I’m sure you’ll be a testament of that as well.[chuckle]
SRR: Yes, that’s for sure.
FG: Obviously you lead a busy life, do you have any tips on how to fit workouts into demanding schedules?
SRR: Yes, my philosophy is just get it done early. I find that, for most of us, we say, “Oh, I’ll do it later.”. And I think working out is one of those things that you need to do at the top of the morning because it actually does energize your day. People think it’s gonna take away from their energy, but I find that it energizes my day. So I would say, if possible, if you have to be at work at six in the morning, I mean, four o’clock might be a little bit too early for a workout, but if you can, if you’re an early bird, get up early, get your workout in first and get a good a hour of whatever it is, cardio, weightlifting, do whatever it is that you like. And get it done early and put it on the front end of your day. And you’ll find that you feel better for the rest of the day. So that’s my secret. Whenever I put my workouts off, I get it done, but it’s always a little bit harder and it usually worse in the mornings.
FG: I absolutely love that. I mean you put me in gear today. I’m putting on my tennis shoes when we’re done. [laughter] I will not hold you too much longer. I’m sure you’re getting ready to get to the gym as we speak. You’ve motivated me to get going early today.[chuckle]
SRR: Oh, that’s awesome.
FG: You spend a lot of time on the track, how do you enjoy spending your spare time? Do you have any favorite hobbies?
SRR: I think my mind works as fast as my legs do, and so I’m always thinking of something I have, some business plan or something I wanna do in the community or something. So I’m always thinking of stuff to do. I really do keep myself very busy, but when I’m not doing any of those things, I just love watching a movie with my husband. My husband’s a big movie buff.
FG: Have you ever thought about starting your own line and if so, what type of line would you consider, sports or non-athletic?
SRR: Yeah, I definitely have thought about that, and I think I would do… People always have thought, I got an athletic part, and I would actually… Like if it was my preference and I could do whatever I wanted, it would be non-athletic.
SRR: I know that’s crazy, and I love sports gear, I loved working with Nike, providing input, they’re kinda shifting the brand. People are not looking for black tights and white t-shirts anymore.
FG: You’re so right!
SRR: Nike is putting more designs on the tights and stuff like that. I’m so glad to have been a part of their creative design process.
FG: That’s wonderful.
SRR: I actually love casual, stylish, trendy clothes more. I would love to do something… I’d probably have more of a collection that might have somewhat of an athletic feel to it, you know, something that you could lounge around in, waiting in the airport, maybe run to the gym. But from my mind, it would be absolutely non-athletic.[chuckle]
FG: I’m sure it would be an amazing collection. I could easily see you doing either or both. You know, the sky’s the limit. Just know, people would buy it. We’d wear it. I mean you look great in your clothes. You’re a wonderful icon. People would buy it either way.
FG: Who are your favorite designers?
SRR: Well, I love rag and bone, their brand, they’re my favorite jeans. I love, of course, with Chanel, I love Chanel bags and jewelry and shoes, and Louis. What else are my other favorite brands? BCBG is on of my other favorite go-to line. I think that it’s a great lifestyle line. You could find something to go… Wear a beautiful gown or something very casual…
SRR: And then I love… Like Prada makes great shoes, and Valentino shoes, are some of my favorites. So I’m really into trends. I love leather, and I love lace. I don’t like everything… I’m not so much into overalls, yet. Maybe I’ll get there, but… We’ll see. But, yeah, I just love trends and trying new things, you know, changing my hair, pushing the envelope, yeah, I love all that.
FG: You have truly empowered me today. I feel ready to go work out, which I was planning on doing later, but I think I’m gonna try to squeeze it in before I go further into my work day.
SRR: Squeeze it in.[laughter]
FG: I’m geared up, and you definitely have me wanting to go buy some Prada shoes [laughter] and cut bread out of my diet. So if you haven’t done anything else today, know that you got my heels to clicking. So I really appreciate your taking the time and talking with you. Thank you so much.
SRR: Yeah, and thank you too. I appreciate the interview and I appreciate your compliments to the interview. Sometimes you get into an interview and the person has barely read it. You participate and you’re telling them the whole story. And sometimes that gets a little bit frustrating when you’ve been doing that for so long. So I appreciate your thoughtfulness and I appreciate your encouragement in the interview as well.
FG: We wish you the best Sanya. Thanks again for taking to time to chat with us. It was a great pleasure. Have a wonderful, wonderful day.
SRR: Thank you. You too.
Interview by: Kim Anthony