Richards Gets One-Third of $1M Jackpot
Texas ex cements best season of career
By Lee Nichols,
12:00PM, Sat. Sep. 5, 2009
Last month, Austinite and former Texas Longhorn Sanya Richards won a gold medal; yesterday in Brussels, she won the Golden League.
Just as in 2007, the newly crowned 400 meters world champion went unbeaten in the six Golden League track & field meetings in Europe, giving her a share of the $1 million jackpot for any athletes who can accomplish that feat in their respective disciplines.
She was matched in her accomplishment by Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva (pole vault) and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele (5,000 meters), so her share this time was $333,333.33. Two years ago, she raked in half a million.
Richards blasted out her one lap of the track in Brussels in 48.83 seconds, far ahead of her nearest challenger and the fastest time in the world this year.
“I really wanted to go under 49 seconds but of course [it was] a little bit cold and rainy, so I wasn’t sure,” Richards told NBC’s UniversalSports.com, “but I pulled it off and got a new meet record so I’m very, very happy.
“A lot of times the bad weather can be distracting, so I wanted to remind myself that it didn’t matter what the weather was like. I know how to run my race. So I wanted to stay in the moment stay focused.”
In the past few seasons, Richards had to endure the frustration of being ranked No. 1 in the world but coming up short in global championships, including last year’s Beijing Olympics. Last month in Berlin, she lifted her curse by claiming the world title.
“The best season of my life,” Richards said. “To be world champ and also win the jackpot, it just proves anything is possible if you just believe. “
Richards still has one meet remaining, next weekend's IAAF World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki, Greece.