|espnW.com: Athlete's Life|
It's 2012! After falling short of my goal to win my first individual Olympic gold medal in 2008, I thought this year would never come, but it's finally here, and I am over the moon.
After winning the world title in the 400 meters in 2009, I suffered a season-ending injury that left me unable to compete in 2010. My comeback in 2011 proved to be a lot more difficult than I could have ever imagined. Try as I might, I never got to full strength in my training, and I competed far below my usual standards. However, right before the 2011 world championships, I ran my best race of the year in London, and in the process clocked the second-leading time in the world. I was optimistic I was rounding into shape at just the right time and was ready to defend my world title. But it wasn't meant to be. I made the final at the worlds in South Korea, but I didn't feel like myself, and placed seventh -- my worst finish in a major championship.
The last two seasons have been very difficult, but I am grateful for them, because they motivated me more than any winning season ever could. I'm training harder than ever, and am excited to start the 2012 season in the best shape of my life. For the first time in five years I'll be competing indoors, and I can't wait. My first meet of 2012 will be the Millrose Games on Feb. 11 in New York City, which seems fitting given New York is where I've spent most of the offseason, training and supporting my husband, Aaron Ross, cornerback for the New York Giants.
This NFL season has been an amazing time for Aaron. He was struggling with injuries and other setbacks the past few seasons, just like me, but now he is once again a starter, and both he and the Giants are having great success. His team has had an amazing run -- advancing to the playoffs and defeating the Atlanta Falcons during wild-card weekend and knocking off the No. 1 seed, the Green Bay Packers, in the divisional round. But the most emotional win came Sunday night in San Francisco, where the Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game to make the Super Bowl.
It was an absolutely thrilling experience for all of us who were there to witness it, and it's so amazing to see the person you love doing what he loves to do and succeeding at the highest level. Just making it to the NFL is a dream come true few players get to experience, and for Aaron to have a chance to win a second Super Bowl in his young career is incredible. It's certainly something neither one of us takes for granted.
Most people have no idea how much work the guys do off the field -- working out, practicing and studying film for hours on end. I'm practically an expert on most NFL offenses myself! Being married to another world-class athlete is such a blessing, and seeing Aaron's drive and determination serve him so well only inspires me more to achieve my goals. I want 2012 to be our year!
Richards-Ross will be blogging for espnW throughout her training leading up to the Olympics in London this summer. Check back in February for more on her journey.