Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

77. Sanya Richards

Untied States
Age: 23

Richards, a favorite in the 400m, has had a remarkable season, especially in light of where she was last year. The Jamaican born sprinter, who moved to the U.S. when she was 12, was diagnosed with Behcet's Syndrome, a rare, incurable inflammatory disorder that caused fatigue, skin lesions and mouth ulcers so painful she couldn't even talk. For while, all she could eat was chicken broth. She had a flare-up around last year's nationals, which kept her from competing for a world title. Richards finally found a medication to control the symptoms, and after easily winning the 400m at the trials, is in position to win two golds (she will be part of the 4 X 400m relay pool). Her doctor tells her a low stress level will keep Behcet's in check. The way Richards has been running, that should be no sweat.