Sanya Richards-Ross, the Jamaica-born athlete who represented the United States at two Olympic Games, launched two books on June 17 in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital.
Held at the Spanish Court Hotel, the event attracted over 100 persons including sports minister Olivia Grange, Mike Fennell, long-serving president of the Jamaica Olympic Association and Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association.
Richards-Ross, gold medalist over 400 meters at the 2012 London Olympics, introduced her books, Chasing Grace and Run With Me. She also donated copies and gear to Vaz Preparatory, the East Kingston school where her career started; and Immaculate Conception High School, which she attended for one year before migrating to the United States.
The 32-year-old quarter-miler also donated the US uniform she wore when she won the gold medal in London five years ago. The suit, along with a pair of spikes and running shoes, were given to the Jamaica Sports Museum which the Jamaican government hopes to start building this year.
“We hope that athletes like Usain Bolt will follow your lead and also make donations to the sports museum. We also encourage ordinary Jamaicans who may have collected athletic gear to donate them to the museum, and they will receive full credit for it,” said Grange.
Richards-Ross first competed for the US at the World Junior Championships in Kingston in 2002. She was booed by the crowd.
Despite an indifferent relationship with Jamaican track fans, she said her years at Vaz shaped her mindset.
“I always remembered the Vaz Prep motto — “Honest Labour Bears A Lovely Face” — it is something we said every day at school, and my father always instilled discipline in me to work hard for what I wanted. I also remember the heartbreak I felt when Marion Jones was caught cheating. She was someone I looked up to and it hurt to find out that she was cheating.”
Run With Me, an autobiography, recalls Richards-Ross’ journey from middle-class Jamaican upbringing to champion athlete.