Former track star Sanya Richards-Ross, who won a gold medal for the United States in the 2008 Olympics, admitted in her book “Chasing Grace” that she had an abortion right before competing.
“The culmination of a lifetime of work was right before me,” Richards-Ross wrote in her book published Tuesday. “In that moment, it seemed like no choice at all.”
At the time, Richards-Ross was engaged to now-husband Aaron Ross, former cornerback for the New York Giants. Richards-Ross said that the pregnancy was unexpected, and the two agreed on the decision over the phone.
“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,” Richards-Ross said. “What would my sponsors, my family, my church, and my fans think of me?”
After earning gold in a 4×400 relay race with fellow U.S. Olympians, she told “half-truths” about what was occurring in her life. Richards-Ross said she had cramps and trouble sleeping, common post-abortion side effects.
Her decision to now share her story publicly comes after years of internal struggle.
“If I didn’t share the toughest moment in my life where I felt God’s grace the most, it would be disingenuous to this journey,” Richards-Ross said. “I think there are lots of young girls who experience this especially female athletes. I look forward to having more discussions about it and helping young women heal from it.”
Richards-Ross announced in February that she is expecting again.
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