Stratford Stories: Sally Pearson
With less than 50 days until the star-studded field takes to the track, we’ve decided to take a look back at a series of individuals who have carved out stellar reputations at London Stadium.
Next in the series is Australian sprinter Sally Pearson, who has confirmed she’ll run at the 2019 Muller Anniversary Games and has found a home from home in the English capital city, with a few golden moments in her highlight reel.
Building on Beijing
Sydney-born athlete Pearson switched her focus from doing both the 100m and 100m hurdles, to solely the latter event heading into her first Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
The risk paid off and Pearson claimed a stunning silver medal behind Lolo Jones on the biggest stage of all. Over the next couple of years, she came fifth at the World Championships in Berlin and won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.
Pearson’s first World title came in Daegu in 2011 when she stormed to victory running the fastest time in the event in nearly two decades, with 12.28 seconds, having claimed a first IAAF Diamond League win in London just a few months earlier.
As the world descended on the London Olympics in 2012, Pearson joined them in an attempt to upgrade her medal from Beijing four years earlier.
Taking on a hugely-talented field in the final the sprinter ran well and crossed the line without knowing whether she had won - Pearson hadn’t dipped while rival Dawn Harper did as she closed on the final few metres.
Suddenly, the Australian’s name flashed up first on the scoreboard as she secured gold in an Olympic record of 12.35 seconds, just 0.02 ahead of Harper.
The following year at the inaugural Anniversary Games in 2013, Pearson sustained that winning feeling in London to claim a dazzling title.
The Australian star continued her love affair with Stratford at the 2017 World Championships, when despite missing much of the 2015 and 2016 seasons through injury, she secured gold in a time of 12.59.
After the win, she commented: “It’s been a long journey back from injury, but to get this moment and go and celebrate in front of my family is unreal.
“I love this stadium, I love the people and I’m so happy to have been back here doing the same thing again [winning gold].”
A few weeks later she added another piece of silverware to the cabinet when she took home the IAAF Diamond Trophy.
USA’s Kendra Harrison has been a dominant force at the Muller Anniversary Games in recent times, winning the last three titles, but Pearson now has Olympic, World and two Diamond League golds on the London Stadium track, and will be in the mood for more.
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