Olympic gold-medal sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross is opening up deeply personal issues in her new book Chasing Grace

By Rose Minutaglio
February 01, 2017 12:00 PM
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Olympic gold-medal sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross is opening up about deeply personal issues — including her battle against body shaming and the devastating end to her athletic career — in her new book Chasing Grace, to be released on June 6, 2017.

“This is my most raw and honest first-hand account of my journey to Olympic gold and definitive personal growth,” Richards-Ross, 31, tells PEOPLE. “I decided to confidently talk openly for the first time about some of my deepest heartbreaks and most painful secret battles while competing in the Olympics.”

In an exclusive first look at the cover of Chasing Grace, Richards-Ross is shown wearing her USA Track and Field top, paired with a billowing tulle skirt. Her hands (a stunning wedding band in sight) are folded as if in prayer.

“I wanted a cover that captured the essence of my journey as a woman, athlete and a believer,” says Richards-Ross, who is married to NFL cornerback Aaron Ross. “I wanted a cover that would convey the divine peace God offers in the midst of life’s biggest storms, represented by the wind beneath my gown.”

Credit: Erick Robinson

Richards-Ross, the 2012 400-meter Olympic gold medalist, chose to reveal the cover of her new book on the first day of Black History Month.

“It is so important that women of all colors see themselves as cover girls, winners and champions,” says the Jamaican-American sprinter.

In September, Richards-Ross said that her book focuses heavily on social pressures she faces, as an athlete-celebrity, to look a certain way on social media. She recalls being “body-shamed” online and how she overcomes and pushes negativity aside.

“I hope the book reaches and touches anyone who is in pursuit of their life’s mission or even on the brink of throwing in the towel,” she explains. “This book is my personal anthem and I hope readers realize they have greatness within to outlast the challenging stretches of every journey. I hope to encourage people to stay the course and achieve their highest potential.”