Team USA’s sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross, 27, the reigning World Champion in the 400m race from 2009 and the recent gold medalist for the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 400m event, wasn’t always so sure about the continuation of her Olympic career, especially when she was diagnosed with the autoimmune illness, Behcet’s Disease, before competing in the 2008 Beijing games, where she won a team gold medal for the 4×400 meters relay and an individual bronze medal for the 400m.

After the 2008 Olympics, Richards-Ross learned that she had been misdiagnosed and that she suffered from a less pernicious, more treatable skin disease. She then amped up her training and returned to the 2012 Summer Olympics. “I always just try to channel that moment of being able to represent my country or to stand on that podium or go to the Olympic Games or World Championships,” Richards-Ross said in an exclusive with Uinterview about overcoming moments of stress in training.

“That kind of gets me over the edge because I know that it’s in those moments that I get to have those other moments, so I work really hard in practice,” she told us. And the challenge of nabbing a victory for Team USA also inspires Richards-Ross, who was born in Jamaica. “Wearing the USA across my chest means a lot. I think it has a very unique and significant meaning for me, because actually I was born in Jamaica, so I chose to become a citizen and chose to represent the United States. It means a lot to me because I feel the United States has given me so many opportunities, I just can’t imagine my life if I hadn’t moved here.


For more Uinterview exclusives and the stories on the 2012 London Olympics:

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Boxer Rau’shee Warren Gets ‘In A Zone’ In The Ring

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympian Tim Morehouse On Teaching Fencing To Younger Generations

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Diver Kristian Ipsen Is ‘Not Wearing Much’

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympian Phil Dalhausser’s ‘Late Start’ At Beach Volleyball

EXCLUSIVE: Olympian Jessica Hardy Swims 2.5 Hours Every Morning

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Gymnast Jonathan Horton On The London Games

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Gymnast Jordyn Wieber On Training For London Games

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Sprinter Wallace Spearmon On Losing His Medal In Beijing — And Winning Gold In London

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