Every female athlete I know has had an abortion: US gold medalist breaks sport’s last taboo

By STEWART PATERSON FOR MAILONLINE

A double-gold Olympic medalist claims every female track-and-field athlete she knows has had an abortion.

Sanya Richards-Ross, 32, said pregnancy and abortions are issues ‘that are not really talked about, especially in sports.’

The Jamaican-American athlete revealed in her new book that she herself had an abortion – just one day before leaving for the Beijing Games in the summer of 2008.

‘I literally don’t know another female track-and-field athlete who hasn’t had an abortion and that’s sad,’ she said in an interview for Sports Illustrated Now.

‘So, for me, I’m hoping that this will open up some discussions – to helping especially a lot of young women who were in my situation not experience what I did.’

Richards-Ross, who won gold in the 400 metres and 4×400 meters relay, said she was 23 years old when she had her abortion in 2008.

The track-and-field athlete, who went on to win individual bronze and relay gold in Beijing, said: ‘At that time in your life when you’re in college, you don’t feel comfortable talking to your mom.

‘So, a lot of information you get is from your peers.

Richard-Ross (left during the women's 200 metre race at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games in 2015), appeared on Sports Illustrated Now to promote her new book when she revealed she doesn't know a female track-and-field athlete who hasn't had an abortion

‘It’s going to sound silly to some people but, in our community, people don’t want to take the pill because you put water weight on.

‘And then people tell you when you’re extremely fit you can’t get pregnant because our cycles are shorter.

‘So, there’s a lot of miseducation that happens to young women in college, because we’re educating ourselves.’

British ex-400m hurdler Tasha Danvers said she nearly had an abortion just months before the 2004 Olympics.

'The doctors told me "take 14 days off" - I didn't have 14 days - but it was more for me about the spiritual and emotional part of the experience that I wanted to share': Richard-Ross is pictured crossing the finish line to win the women's 4 x 400 metre final at the London Olympic Games in 2012

Richards-Ross appeared on Sports Illustrated Now to promote her new book, ‘Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me about God and Life.’

She told the program: ‘After the [abortion] procedure, I wasn’t even supposed to run.

‘The doctors told me “take 14 days off” – I didn’t have 14 days – but it was more for me about the spiritual and emotional part of the experience that I wanted to share.

‘I knew God had forgiven me for it but really forgiving myself for that choice and really moving on and, now that I’m going to be a mother and now that God has blessed me again, I felt I kind of needed to purge myself of that and hopefully help others do the same.’

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