Women's Empowerment

Community, Connection, and Love Fuel Sanya Richards-Ross in This New Stage of Her Life

Tamara Pridgett

Photo: Getty Images/ Ian MacNicol

Sanya Richards-Ross is a boss on and off the track. She's a decorated track and field sprinter—she has four Olympic gold medals—and now that's she's retired, she's a commentator for NBC Sports, an entrepreneur and founder of MommiNation, host of the Nike Ultra Sound podcast, and a mother. On the most recent episode of Well+Good's "Glowing Live with Latham," an Instagram Live series hosted by Latham Thomas, founder of Mama Glow, Richards-Ross sat down with Thomas to talk about life post track and field, building community, and the complexities of motherhood.

As she embarks on a new journey as a track and field commentator and acts as a mentor to countless athletes, Richards-Ross says she "feels really blessed" to have these opportunities. "I've always loved the sport of track and field so much—it has given me so much," she says. "And you know, unfortunately, for all of us as athletes, it's a short window. You know you're only going to be elite for 10, 15 years if you're lucky, and so to be able to continue to contribute to my sport in this way means the world to me." She enjoys telling stories in addition to providing fans with insights on not just how the athletes are performing but how they're feeling.

And when she isn't covering track and field, you can catch Richards-Ross building MommiNation, a community centered around supporting Black mothers during their motherhood journey. "MommiNation has been a dream come true and it was really birthed out of, you know, having retired from sports and understanding the importance of community and support," she says. "I realized that many moms suffer through what feels like isolation and depression although you have another human being there with you. And so I wanted to be very specific about providing a space, a loving community specifically for Black moms because I feel a lot of times we feel left out." And although MommiNation centers Black motherhood, it's not just exclusive to Black mothers: "Everyone is welcome," says Richards-Ross.

When it comes to her own motherhood journey, Richards-Ross says it was "absolutely beautiful," but had its challenges.  "I thought the 400 was hard, but being a momma—okay," she says, laughing. "Becoming a mom completely changed me. I think being an athlete is one of the most selfish things you can do 'cause it's always about you...and then you become a mom and it's the opposite. It's all about this other human being and how do I support him and be there for him."

And with that being said, her self-care practices have drastically changed as she's transitioned from being one of the greatest 400m runners in the world to a mom. "I didn't realize how much self-care was just naturally incorporated in being an athlete—I mean massages every day, rest, water, the best foods," she says. "So I was taking like the best care of myself and when I became a mom like everything kind of went to the back burner."

To circumvent feeling depleted, she often does self-checks so that she can fill her cup back up and be able to pour her energy into her family and son. "It looks a lot different now...the times are a lot shorter," says Richards-Ross, adding that simple things like taking a bath, reading a book, and going for a walk work wonders.

"I definitely check in with myself, especially when I feel like I'm kind of burning out and burning the candle on both end," she says. " She knows just how challenging it can be to care for yourself as a mother and someone who supports their community, but it's imperative to do so.

It's evident Richards-Ross has found her purpose off the track. What keeps her glowing? Community, connection, and love. Check out the full interview below:

 

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