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London Olympics 2012

Sally PearsonSally PearsonSally PearsonSally PearsonSally Pearson

Sally Pearson, born 19 September 1986 in Sydney, Australia is the current World Champion in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 12.28s. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, she won the silver medal in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 12.64s. Pearson was born in Sydney and moved to the Gold Coast when she was eight years old. It was there, while she was still in primary school, that her athletic talents were noticed by Sharon Hannan, who remains her coach to this day. Pearson rose to prominence in 2001, when at the age of only 14, she won the Australian under-20 100 meter title. After injury setbacks during 2002 she made her international debut at the 2003 World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada and won gold in the 100 meter hurdles. The following month, still only 16 years old, she represented Australia at open level at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, France as part of the 4 x 100 meter relay team. In 2004 she won a bronze in the 100 meters at the World Junior Championships, and just missed out on a medal in the 100 meter hurdles.

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, Pearson tripped over a hurdle and fell to the ground during the 100 meter hurdles final, costing her the chance of a medal. In 2007 she continued to pursue both the 100 meters and the 100 meter hurdles, making the semi-final of each event at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan. However in the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games, she shifted her focus solely to the 100 meter hurdles. This decision paid off, with Pearson claiming the silver medal in a dramatic final, where the favourite Lolo Jones stumbled and a photo finish was required to decide the minor medals. After the announcement of the official results a jubilant Pearson celebrated enthusiastically with bronze medal winner Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, and gave an emotional trackside interview.

Pearson was in good form during the 2009 European season, winning five out of seven races and breaking the Australian and Oceanian record in the 100 meter hurdles at the Herculis meeting in July, with a time of 12.50 seconds; 0.03 faster than the area record she had set on the same track a year earlier. However she was hampered by back spasms in the lead up to the World Championships in Berlin, and was only able to finish fifth in the 100 meter hurdles final.

At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, Pearson competed in the 100 meter sprint in addition to the 100 meter hurdles. In the final of the 100 meters she recorded a false start, along with English runner Laura Turner, but was allowed to line up for the restart, crossing the finish line first in a time of 11.28s. However a protest was lodged after the race, which resulted in a distraught Pearson being disqualified. Three nights later she went on to win gold in the 100 meter hurdles final in 12.67 seconds. Pearson was also controversially included in the Australian team for the final of the women's 4 x 400 meter relay, an event she had not trained for, and collapsed after running the anchor leg, the Australian team having finished in fifth place. Even though she thought she had let the team down, her team mates comforted her.

At the beginning of the next season, she won the 100 meters, 200 meters and 100 meter hurdles to become the first Australian woman to win three national titles at the same event since Pam Kilborn had done in 1968. At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Pearson ran a 100 meter hurdles time of 12.28s (+1.1), the fourth fastest time in history, following the semi-finals where she produced the equal fifth fastest time in history of 12.36s (+0.3) to beat her own Oceanian area record and Australian national record. In November 2011 the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) awarded Pearson as the 2011 Female Athlete of the Year. She is the first Australian to receive this award. Pearson also received prize money of A$ 98,800 ($US100,000). Sally has had an incredible year, winning 15 straight 100 meter hurdles races and setting seven of 2011's fastest 11 times. The World Athlete of the Year award makes Sally one of Australia's most successful athletes. Even Olympic gold medal winner Cathy Freeman never won the award.

Pearson was raised by her single mother Anne, who worked two jobs to make enough money to support her daughter's athletic career. In late 2008 she became engaged to Kieran Pearson, the pair having been together since their senior year at Helensvale State High School on Queensland's Gold Coast. In April 2010 they married on the Gold Coast, and honeymooned in Los Angeles and Hawaii. Sally Pearson has officially become something her parents have been calling her for years — the best female athlete in the world. The humble hurdler became the first Australian to win the coveted World Athlete of the Year award at the World Athletics gala in Monaco. Sally, the current 100m hurdles world champion, and mens world 100 meter record-holder Usain Bolt were honoured at the prestigious awards.

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source: www.wikipedia.org


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