Sharon Richards awarded GoodYear "Get There" award
Sharon Richards, mother of 400m track and field super-star Sanya Richards, has been honored with GoodYear's "Get There" award, which recognizes the people most responsible for helping American athletes realize their dreams of Olympic competition. Sharon was recognized for the support she has given to her daughter thoughout her career.
At 17, Sanya became the U.S. junior 400m record holder. When Sanya entered the professional circuit, Sharon became her manager as she became the world's #1 400-meter runner. In 2007, when Sanya was diagnosed with Behcets Syndrome, a disease that could have ended her track career, Sharon took on the role of caregiver. A year later, Sanya heads to Beijing as the gold-medal favorite, thanks largely in part to her mother's efforts.
Sanya's accomplishments are many. She was a member of the 2004 Olympic gold medal 4x400m relay team and currently holds the American Record in the 400m, which she set in 2006 in 48.70 seconds at the World Cup. She also set a U.S. Junior 400m record of 50.69 at the U.S Outdoor Junior Championships. She also won a gold medal at the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Championships for her part in the 4x400m relay. She is a four-time U.S. Outdoor champion (2008, '06, 2005, 2003).
Patton, Symmonds get gold medal as Big Brothers
Courtsey Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Ten-year-old Aryn and 9-year-old Clayton will tell you their Big Brothers are already winners, even before they compete for medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Two-time Olympian Darvis "Doc" Patton is Aryn's Big Brother, and Olympic Trials 800m champion Nick Symmonds is Big Brother to Clayton. Patton, of Grand Prairie, Texas, a 2004 Olympic Silver medalist, will represent the U.S. in the men's 100m and the 4x100m relay team. Symmonds, a 24-year-old from Springfield, Oregon, will compete for his first Olympic medal in Beijing.
Big Brothers Big Sisters recently launched a national Campaign for Men to recruit more mentors for boys. More than 70 percent of the children waiting for a Big Brother are boys, but only three out of every 10 inquiries about volunteering come from men.
For Aryn and Clayton, meeting Patton and Symmonds ended months of anxious waiting. And while both were excited and impressed to learn their Big Brothers were world-class athletes, that's not what mattered most.
"Nick was very nice to me," Clayton said. "The day we met, we played Guitar Hero®. He told me jokes. He takes me to my favorite places to eat, plus once we went to this cool pizza place that I had never been to before and it was really good!"
"Having Darvis as a Big Brother is really amazing because I can share things with him, have fun with him, and have someone to make me feel special. I just love having a Big Brother," Aryn said.
Both boys love sports, video games and adventure. Like many boys served by Big Brothers Big Sisters, they live in single-parent homes with their mothers. Both moms say their kids' Big Brothers are making a difference in how their kids are growing up.
Aryn, who has a younger sister and brother, is more at peace, reads more, and has become a more patient older brother, his mom said. Clayton's mother, who is delighted that he and Symmonds share so much in common, said her son has become a better student and is more competitive when he plays basketball.
Despite their busy schedules, the boys' mothers said Patton and Symmonds find time to visit their sons, and as their Olympic training has become more intense, they email, text and call the boys whenever they get a moment.
Some of the Little Brothers' most memorable times since being matched will likely also be some of the Olympian Big Brothers' most unforgettable. Aryn and Clayton watched their Big Brothers compete during the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., when they qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Aryn saw the events on TV; Clayton watched in person.
"I just knew Nick was going to win every race and he did. I got to watch him race in all three qualifying meets," Clayton said. "After he finished the last race, he took a victory lap. He saw me in the crowd and high fived me in the air! I couldn't believe it!"
"He made it to the Olympics!" Aryn said after watching his Big Brother, Darvis, qualify. "He works so hard; he's a real man. I want to be a good man just like him, a great man, a guy who works hard, not just a guy who sits on the couch all day; a guy who'll go do something, a man like Darvis."
Learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters and how you can change how our children grow up in America by visiting BigBrothersBigSisters.org.