Sanya Richards-Ross Reveals She Had An Abortion
Sanya Richards-Ross (34) is revealing personal moments in her new memoir. The Five-time Olympic medalist recalls having an abortion just weeks before competing in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Reflecting now, she says having the procedure cost her more than a gold medal. She made the decision with her then fiancee, Aaron Ross.
Over the phone, we didn’t go into details. As if not saying it would alleviate some of the guilt and the shame.
At the time the couple was engaged and the pregnancy was unexpected. She writes in her memoir Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God and Life,
Everything I ever wanted seemed to be within reach. The culmination of a lifetime of work was right before me. In that moment, it seemed like no choice at all. The debate of when life begins swirled through my head, and the veil of a child out of wedlock at the prime of my career seemed unbearable. What would my sponsors, my family, my church, and my fans think of me?
I made a decision that broke me, and one from which I would not immediately heal. Abortion would now forever be a part of my life. A scarlet letter I never thought I’d wear. I was a champion— and not just an ordinary one, but a world-class, record-breaking champion. From the heights of that reality I fell into a depth of despair.
Despite the doctor recommending that she take two weeks off from exercising, the day after her abortion she flew to Beijing for the Olympics. During the race, she got a cramp in her hamstring and came in at third place when she expected to win. She describes being,
broken, physically and emotionally.
Sanya and her team later went on to win the 4×400 meter relay. Her career was also able to recover with her being named IAAF Female Athlete of the Year in 2009.
However, she does the abortion later took a toll on her emotionally.
I always harbored some resentment toward Ross. It was our mess-up, but I felt abandoned in the decision. It was like by not saying anything, neither agreeing nor opposing, he kept his conscience clear, but it wasn’t fair. We were in it together.
[Ross] explained to me that he was just as burdened by the decision as I was. He believed that our child in 2008 was a blessing we had rejected by always wanting to be in control.
Fast forward tot he present day, the couple are expecting their first child together. Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God and Life hit shelves this week. Click here to purchase.