Sanya Richards-Ross And Chasing Grace, A Cautionary Tale For Women Athletes

In her new book, Chasing Grace, five time Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross opens up about a very personal decision that has affected her for years. 

Shortly before the 2008 Olympics, Richards-Ross discovered that she was pregnant. The day before she left for Beijing, Richards-Ross had an abortion that she has described as a misstep for which she felt guilt and shame. 

She got on a plane the day after and competed at an elite level less than 14 days later, garnering both a Gold and Bronze medal.



Richards-Ross indicated that a lack of competent information was a factor in her becoming unexpectedly pregnant. She said that many athletes dont take birth control pills because they are afraid of water weight. Although birth control affects each woman differently, water weight gain is as a common side effect. 

Next, she states that young women mistakenly think that because they are in top physical condition and their menstrual cycles are shorter, that they cannot get pregnant. 

This information is dangerous and faulty. While the ovulation cycles may be shorter, it is definitely still possible to become pregnant, even while in optimal shape. Richards-Ross situation obviously proves this. 

The issue that Richards-Ross faced is common, and one only faced by female athletes. Men dont have to think about how a pregnancy will affect their ability to train or perform. Their hormones dont change and their diet and exercise regimens are not affected. 

Sanya Richards-Ross On Abortions In Women’s Track & Field, Her Husband | SI NOW | Sports Illustrated

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross discusses how her abortion affected her relationship with former New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross. Subscribe to Follow the latest NFL news and highlights, with updates on your favorite team and players. Want to know what’s up with Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Tom Brady and more?

Becoming an elite female athlete is a choice rife with sacrifice. It may mean getting pregnant at an older age after they retire, or foregoing pregnancy altogether. And, in the event that one becomes pregnant, female athletes are faced with a difficult decision that can affect them for years afterward, whether they choose to continue the pregnancy or not.

Fortunately for the Ross family, Sanya and her husband, former NFL player Aaron Ross, are expecting their first child. 

Gold Medal Moments – Sanya Richards Ross

After what she considered a disappointing bronze medal finish in the 400 meter at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Sanya Richards was determined to win gold before going home. She would only have one more chance, during an epic battle with the Russians in the 4 x 400.

Richards-Ross has retired and she is fully ready to become a mother. She hopes that her new book, Chasing Grace, is a cautionary tale for other young women and exemplifies how one can triumph over adversity.

Back to top