Home is where the hardware is
The Sanya Richards-Ross and Aaron Ross household in Jacksonville, Fla., better have a large trophy room.
Aaron Ross is a two-time Super Bowl champion and Richards-Ross added to her own already impressive medal collection by winning the women's 400-meter run Sunday night. The medal was her first individual gold and goes along with two 4x400 relay golds from 2004 and 2008, as well as a bronze in the 400 in Beijing.
"My hubby is my best friend and greatest supporter, and the fact he is here tonight, away from Jacksonville where he should be, was so special," Richards-Ross said. "We don't compete. His Super Bowl rings give me motivation and, ironically, I was at the house with him today and he was in the back working out. That's what we do for each other. I remember at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis I found a track to work out. Because to see him at his best inspired me to be my best.
"We'll continue to get as much hardware as possible and continue to push each other as much as can be."
Ross, who left the New York Giants and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March, said he missed three days of training camp to fly to London to support his wife.
"This moment was basically her Super Bowl, so I was more excited than anything to see this outcome," he said. "Like she said, she was on my ride until the end and I wanted to be here for her ride.
"The coaches were all for it. They wanted me to come here and enjoy the moment with her."
Meanwhile, the American men had a rougher time in the 400. After LaSwan Merritt pulled up with a sore hamstring in Saturday's qualifying heats, Tony McQuay and Bryshon Nellum both failed to qualify for the final Sunday. It will be the first time in Olympic history that the United States will not have a runner in the men's 400 final.
Richards-Ross and bronze medalist Dee Dee Trotter compensated for that in their 400 final, though, and did so stylishly. Richards-Ross looked downright elegant running in her red arm sleeves while Trotter ran with a glittery makeup design on the side of her face that she said took 25 minutes to apply.
"I put in a little extra time. I wanted to have a little more oomph in it," Trotter said. "It's like my war paint. I put it on and go out there and feel like it gives me a little more inspiration, a little more motivation. I compare it to Mike Tyson when he came back with the tattoo on his face. He was crazy. He just got it done, he did whatever it took. He was a madman and that's the inspiration I wanted."
The race finish was close enough that Richards-Ross wasn't absolutely sure she had edged silver medalist Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain until the times flashed on the scoreboard and she saw she had won by .15 seconds, running a 49.55.
"I was almost 100 percent sure I had it but you never want to celebrate until you see your name on top of that list," she said. "To have that moment and see my name on the top at the Olympic Games is just overwhelming."
Sunday's victory made up for the 2008 Olympics when Richards-Ross had the fastest qualifying time but ran a poor race in the final and finished third to Ohuruogu. "It took me some time to get past that," Richards-Ross said. "This time I concentrated on crossing that line first to call myself Olympic champion. I had to dig really deep to do that and I'm so grateful to have this experience."