Welcome to “Player Notes,” a new, recurring TM Daily Post feature in which we ask noteworthy Texans—athletes, actors, singers, politicians, and more—to share with us their sports-watching (and playing) habits. Today we bring you the sports habits of Sanya Richards-Ross, the former UT track star and current Austin resident who holds the Olympics Gold Medal in the 400m and 400m relay races.
Well, of course I follow football because of my husband [former Longhorns standout and longtime New York Giant Aaron Ross]. It’s funny—when he’ll come home sometimes, I’ll be watching a game and he’ll be like, “What are you doing?” I’m actually a football fan now, so I follow football. Being from Jamaica, I was not familiar with American football at all, and until I started dating my husband and started going to games and really getting into it, I didn’t follow it at all. I would say I’m a new fan, but it’s been about ten years, so I’m an oldie now.
I love the Giants, and I, of course, watch the University of Texas. We were in Jacksonville for a while [Ross played there in 2012], so I’ve got love for the Jacksonville Jaguars. And my grandparents love the Redskins, so every now and then I’ll watch them, even though we call them the “Deadskins.” Those teams are the teams that I follow.
I love track, too. When the World Indoors were happening, I tuned in online watching my teammates compete. It was great—though there’s mixed emotions. I know there’s going to come a time when I’m no longer with the team, but man, I miss it when I’m watching it from home. My teammate Francena McCorory won the 400, and she’s a great friend of mine—I want to say that she’s probably five or six years younger than me, so I feel like I kind of helped mentor her a little bit, and it was a really great moment to see her do that and win the gold. But I want to get back out there and I want to represent Team USA for a few more years.
I have a different perspective [having competed and won]. This was the first year that I’ve watched the Winter Games so intently—I literally got home every night and watched every competition, and I felt like I had two perspectives. I’ve never been so much of a fan of the athletes, where I was like, “Man, this is just amazing what they’re doing,” but I also can relate because I know the hard work, the four years, and the disappointments they’ve gone through to be able to get there. It was just awesome to watch and support them, and they kind of inspired me to want to do one more.
For me, winning Gold was a long-time dream come true, and it made me feel like if you work really hard at something, you will find your pot of gold or your gold medal—you’ll have that success. When I watch these athletes I feel, especially the younger ones who don’t have the success—I pray they stick with it because their moment could be around the corner. I think having a goal to have a calm and a peace about me, I can just be excited for everyone.
Recently my husband and I started biking. We’re pretending—you know cycling is getting big here in Austin, so we’re trying to get into the community. We’re not that great, but I like cycling a little bit. My bike’s a regular, like, Huffy. We’re not hardcore. We went to the store and the guy recognized us. He was like, “You’re sure you don’t want to get one of these bikes?” And we were like, “No! We’re not ready.”
(AP Photo/Jon Super)