Fort Lauderdale track star Richards-Ross took gold in the women's 400 meter final Sunday.
Richards-Ross accelerated through the stretch to win the race for the first U.S. gold in track and field at the London Games.
Capping a four-year wait for a second chance with the finish she wanted, Richards-Ross won in 49.55 to edge out the defending champion, Christine Ohuruogu of Britain, who finished in 49.70.
American DeeDee Trotter finished third in 49.72.
Richards-Ross ran to the stands and hugged her husband, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Aaron Ross, a quite different scene from 2008 in Beijing, when she finished third and was found crying under the stands at the Bird's Nest.
A graduate of the University of Texas, Richards-Ross ran locally for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.
John Gorino, the assistant coach for women's track and field at Florida Atlantic University, trained her at the high school in 1999.
"Ever since 2002 world juniors, I told her 'You're going to tell me what it feels like to stand on the podium and know the national anthem is for you'," he said.
She won gold medals on the 4x400-meter relay teams in Athens and Beijing, and took a bronze in the 400-meter final in 2008 – a disappointing performance after she faltered late.
Richards-Ross was a favorite for gold in the 400 meters and will also compete in the 200 meters.
Local athlete Justin Gatlin took the bronze in the men's 100 men race, with Usain Bolt taking gold.
Gatlin finished in 9.79 seconds, Yohan Blake took silver in 9.75 and Bolt set a new Olympic record in 9.63 seconds.
Gatlin was the 2004 Olympic gold medalist.
He won his heat in the semifinals Sunday clocking in with 9.82.