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Giants CB Ross has rooting interest in Olympic games

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Aaron Ross is thinking about more than football at the New York Giants' training camp.

He's got Olympic fever, and with good reason.

His fiancee is Sanya Richards, a favorite in the women's 400. She also is a member of the United States' 400-meter relay team, an event in which she earned a gold medal in Athens in 2004.

"Usually, I'm not nervous," Ross said Sunday between practices at the University at Albany. "I probably will be in the Olympics. I just have so much confidence in her. I see how hard she trains and how well she takes care of her body. I just feel like she is ready for this situation."

Ross should know. After the Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, the former Texas product spent most of the offseason training with Richards.

The two spent Mondays and Tuesdays in Waco, Texas. They then went to the state capital in Austin the next three days and usually traveled to track meets on weekends.

A former runner in high school, Ross said his specialties were the 100 and 200.

"I tried the 400 once and couldn't do it after that," he said. "I will never do it again. That's why I respect her so much for running the 4 -- I know what it feels like. You feel like your heart is going to bust, your hamstrings are going to bust out, everything. It's the hardest, full speed all the way around."

When Ross works out with Richards, he does 200s -- eight of them to be precise -- with 32 seconds between each one.

"That really helps with my recovery," Ross said. "It's a nice speed, like 26 seconds, so that's running."

Any time Richards runs 400s, Ross fetches her water.

The Giants' first-round pick a year ago, Ross laughs when asked 'Who wins?' when they race.

"The 40, I got her," Ross boasts. "The 100, I got her. The 200, um, I don't know. The 400, she will kill me."

Richards, who has battled an illness that caused painful ulcers in her mouth and on her legs, was impressive in winning the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., last month in 49.89 seconds.

"It was good to see her get first place and qualify for the Olympics," Ross said. "She has been waiting for it for four years."

While Richards is a medal favorite, Ross knows anything can happen. The Giants proved that against the previously unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl.

"On any given day, anybody can win," he said. "You can fall, slip, pull up, anything. (Sprinter) Tyson Gay pulled up in the 200 and won't have a chance to run. Anything can happen. You can take nothing for granted."

Richards left for China a couple of days ago and Ross has stayed in touch. The two chatted over the internet on Sunday after practice.

The two athletes met in 2003 in a dining hall at the University at Texas. They got engaged last season and plan to marry in 2010.

"I'm not a a nervous type of guy," said Ross, who played in 19 games last season, starting 12 including the Super Bowl. "She is way more nervous. She was more nervous in college, and the Super Bowl she was a wreck."

For now, Ross will be the one worrying a little more. He has his Super Bowl ring, but believes winning Olympic gold as an individual might trump him.

"That's big," he said. "All eyes will be on her. She already has one in 4x400, but that's a team. Now she gets to compete as an individual."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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