Spotlight On: Our GoGirlGo! Curriculum
A large part of our award-winning GoGirlGo! curriculum is the life lessons from champion female athletes that accompany each chapter of the program. These personal stories from athletes like Tamika Catchings and Julie Foudy strengthen our message and help girls feel comfortable and not alone in their struggles. Whether it's body image, bullying or trouble with parents, our athletes offer advice and a unique perspective on the issues that most affect today’s girls. In the fourth lesson of our GoGirlGo! curriculum for 11 to 13-year-olds, four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross shares her story about dealing with difficult feelings like frustration, anger and sadness. More stories for girls of all ages here.
Emotion Commotion: Sanya Richards-Ross on Dealing with Difficult Feelings
“We were best friends and teammates. She was someone I was very close with, and the summer after junior year I told her all about how I liked this guy. I’d tell her everything. When we came back to school, I found out they were dating.
It was devastating. I felt like we were really good friends, ya know? I’d stay over at her house, and she’d stay over at my house all the time. It was really hard for me, because when it happened, it was like she took a big group of friends from me. There had been like five of us girlfriends, and all of the sudden there were girls who didn’t talk to me anymore or guys who didn’t like me. People were spreading rumors about me. I remember I would cry all the time, and my younger sister would say “its ok, it's not the end of the world.” I’d talk to her a lot. She tried to keep me positive, and she was someone who had my best interests at heart. I’d even talk to my parents a lot.
To deal with things, I worked hard on the track and became even more focused on my school work and all that stuff. When I was feeling the saddest, I found myself really enjoying the things I was good at. I was coming off an injury and a so-so track season my junior year, but that senior season I decided I want going to worry about boys or trying to be everyone’s friend, but instead focus on me.
I would do all the ab workouts. I was eating right and I started beating everyone by a mile! As soon as I did that, I saw the benefits, and it was very rewarding. I was just so motivated to focus on myself and be the best I could be. I had an amazing season. I broke all these records, and I got the best grades in school I had ever had. I ended up getting a scholarship to a great university and even hoped I might one day go to the Olympic Games. It just made me so happy.
Even now, dealing with feelings is definitely still a challenge because hey, emotions like sadness, frustration and anger can be tough to deal with. During tough times, I try to be around my parents and friends. You have to find the people who are good to your heart.
Whenever I feel down, I go for a run because it really clears my mind and encourages me. I learned it helps to focus on what you’re good at, or what you like to do, and put your heart into it. The more you see something about yourself grow, the more rewarding it is, and it makes you happy inside.”
Sanya Richards-Ross graduated from the University of Texas in 2006. She won two gold medals in London, including an individual gold in the women’s 400-meter.