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Olympic runner Sanya Richards Ross wants to prove women can be strong AND feminine

Sanya Richards Olympic athleteSanya Richards Ross is a four-time track and field Olympic gold medalist who’s on the road to Rio in 2016.

But in addition to breaking 400m running records, Austin-based Richards Ross is set on breaking stereotypes that serious athletes can be strong and feminine.

“Growing up, I had this idea that to be a serious athlete you had to be a tomboy, and that you can’t be too feminine or you won’t be taken seriously,” she explains. “Now that I’m older, I definitely embrace my love for beauty and fashion.”

And you can set it in the Nike-sponsored athlete’s love for bright colors and patterns. Read more on Richards Ross’ studio style, workouts, and feminist philosophy, below.

ART_2821What do you do to workout during your off season? I don’t train at all. I’m only off for six weeks, and it’s super important to rest and relax. I have to get my body back to healthy so I can go and beat it up again. Sometimes it’s hard to do nothing, but for the most part I look forward to it because I train so hard normally. My body is usually always sore.

What do you do to train during the normal season? I’m usually on the track for about three hours, in the weight room for two hours, and it takes me an hour to do core, so probably about six hours per day. I also make sure I’m resting and eating well. It’s definitely a full time job.

Do you allow yourself any indulgences during your training? I have a cheat day every week. My favorite cheat is cheese pizza, but I also love french fries and ice cream. Those are my top three on the weekend when I’m letting my hair down.

What’s your workout-clothing style? My workouts are really intense, so it makes it more fun to have a really cute outfit. I like printed tights, crop tops, and sports bras. I’m mostly into colors. For a while, Nike only made black tights. But now, you’ll rarely see me in black. The brighter the better.

Do you wear makeup when you’re working out? I do. I wear makeup every day—Mac and NARS. You won’t see me without my mascara and a little bit of foundation, some cover up and lip gloss. That’s my go-to.

So would you consider yourself a more feminine athlete? Yeah, absolutely. If you watch me compete, I have my hair and makeup done. I think young girls can connect to that. I want to show them you don’t have to choose. You can be a feminine kickass athlete. —Jamie McKillop

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(Photos: Ptah Quammie)