Olympic champ Sanya Richards-Ross is newest ‘Real Houswives of Atlanta’ cast member, promoting her Fit Mommi Challenge

Credit: Lester Platt

Credit: Lester Platt

The Olympic gold medalist and mother of a toddler moved to Atlanta last fall.

The newest member of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” family is Sanya Richards-Ross, a four-time Olympic gold medal-winning track champion.

The long-running Bravo show, now in production for its 14th season, is going through some major changes after two major cast members voluntarily departed last year: Porsha Williams and Cynthia Bailey. With Sheree Whitfield returning a third time and long-time recurring character Marlo Hampton promoted to a main role, Richards-Ross is the sole fresh face, the first genuine athlete ever on the cast.

Richards-Ross became the first female athlete to win gold in the women’s 4 x 400m relay at three consecutive Olympics as part of US team in Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), and London (2012). She also earned an individual gold medal in the Women’s 400-meter race at the 2012 Summer Olympics as well as a bronze in 2008.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

She moved from Austin, Texas, to Kennesaw last fall with her husband and former NFL player Aaron Ross and her four-year-old son Aaron II. Richards-Ross is familiar with Atlanta. She came to the city after producer Will Packer in 2019 hired her as a co-host on his syndicated pop culture news show “Central Ave.,” which aired two seasons but was canceled last year.

“I do love doing television and want to do more hosting,” she said an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I learned about reading a teleprompter and researching what was going on pop culture and being able to speak on it. It was a wonderful learning experience.”

Richards-Ross, who is not allowed yet to talk about “Real Housewives,” called to promote her company MommiNation, an online community focused around physical and mental fitness for mothers of color. She is also holding her fourth 30-day Fit Mommi Challenge this month.

“I won the Olympics,” she said. “When I had my son, I thought it was going to be a walk in the park. I was wrong. Nothing prepared me for motherhood.”

She said while training for the Olympics, she had a community of supporters around her that made her better. “MommiNation is a safe place where you can feel secure being a mom,” she said. “I wanted to create that community atmosphere I had when I was an athlete that allowed me to be the best on the track. Women can share their fears, their concerns, whatever is on their mind.”

To Richards-Ross, “it takes a village to support a child and it takes a nation to support a mom.”

Each day, this fourth Fit Mommi Challenge provides women with workouts, challenges, and check-ins with ways to track progress. While it’s free to sign up, a $30 VIP gets you a T-shirt and access to weekly prizes.

She gives moms four places to join teams and find accountability partners:

Fit Mommi – For moms who already exercise regularly.

Fit•ish Mommi – For moms who work out sometimes but are not rabid about it.

Fit Mommi Loading – For moms who haven’t quite gotten off the couch yet but would like to work out more.

Fit Over 50 Mommi – For older moms.

She hopes this will kickstart some moms to pursue more self care. “I’ve learned it’s very challenging to juggle all the things moms have to do and prioritize themselves,” she said.

Richards-Ross said over the past three years, some women on her site have become lifelong friends, especially through the pandemic. “We had a woman contemplating suicide at first,” she said. “She found the Fit Mommi Challenge and it changed her life. It’s really moving.”

About 1,000 women took part in the last challenge and she hopes to exceed that this month. The arrival of “Real Housewives” on air in April will certainly help her for-profit organization, which relies in part on corporate sponsorship money.

“With very little resources, we’ve built an amazing community,” she said. “It’s very intimate.”

Richards-Ross a few years ago had a WE-TV reality show so she isn’t a novice at this game.

“That was a rich experience,” she said. “I really enjoyed connecting with my fans that way.”