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Sally Pearson is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for Australia. She is making her second straight appearance at the Games, where she figures to be the gold medal favorite in the 100m hurdles. The Beijing silver medalist stormed to the 2011 world title in the fourth-fastest time in history.

Pearson got her 2012 campaign off to a rousing start during the 2012 domestic outdoor season. After running 12.66, the fastest 100m hurdles time ever on Australian soil, in Perth in February, she ran a sizzling 12.49 in the rain at the Melbourne Track Classic in March. She also won the 100m (11.67) and the 200m (PR-equaling 23.02) at that meet and declared herself to be in the best early-year form of her life.

By the middle of the summer of 2011, it became clear that the 100m title at the World Championships was Pearson's to lose. She went to Daegu with victories in the Diamond League meets in Lausanne, Birmingham, Monaco and London under her belt. In the opening heat, she stormed to victory in 12.52, a time which raised eyebrows. In the semifinals, she ran an absurdly-fast 12.36. In the final, she exploded to victory in 12.28, establishing new personal-best, national record and Oceanic record times. The time is the fourth-fastest in history and the fastest in the world since 1992. The performance, along with her 15 victories in 16 races, helped earn her IAAF World Athlete of the Year honors.

At the beginning of the 2011 season, Pearson displayed the type of sprint versatility not seen in elite hurdlers globally. In April, she won the 100m (11.38), 200m (23.20), and 100m hurdles (12.83) titles at the Australian national championships, becoming the first Australian woman to win three national titles at the same meet since Pam Kilborn had done in 1968.

The double was back on the table for Pearson at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India. In the 100m final, she and England's Laura Turner both jumped the gun but were allowed to restart without disqualification. Pearson wound up winning the race in 11.28. Afterward, the English lodged a formal protest and Pearson was DQ'd and left distraught. Three nights later, she took out her frustration in the 100m hurdles, winning in 12.67. Pearson was also controversially included on Australia's team in the 4x400m, an event she had not trained for. The team finished fifth with exhausted anchor Pearson collapsing after the finish.

Pearson was in good form during the 2009 season, winning five out of seven 100m hurdles races and breaking the Australian and Oceanic record in the event at the Golden League Monaco meeting in July, with a time of 12.50 seconds, three-hundredths faster than the area record she had set on the same track a year earlier. Pearson, however, became hampered by back spasms in the lead up to the World Championships in Berlin, and was only able to finish fifth in the 100m hurdles final in 12.70.

Pearson earned her first Olympic medal in unexpected and dramatic fashion. The gold-medal favorite through the rounds had been American Lolo Jones. In the final, Jones exploded out of the blocks and was pulling away from the field when she clipped the ninth hurdle and lost all momentum. That allowed American Dawn Harper to cross first with Pearson coming in second and Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep third.

Ahead of the 2008 Olympic season, Pearson decided that she needed to narrow her focus. The previous season she raced 25 times in the flat 100m, 18 times in the 100m hurdles, and four times in the 200m races, which is clearly a lot. Settling on the hurdles as her primary event for 2008, Pearson cut her flat racing load to four 100s and two 200s and clearly found herself fresher late in the season. At the Golden League meet in Monaco on July 29, she set a then-national record 12.53 in a runner-up finish in the 100m hurdles.

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Pearson missed out on her two opportunities for a medal, finishing seventh in the 100m and clipping a hurdle and falling in the 100m hurdles final. She recovered from the disappointment in 2007, running 10 sub-13-second 100m hurdles times on the season and a personal-best 11.14 in the heats of the 100m at the World Championships in Osaka.

Pearson burst onto the international scene in 2003. One month shy of her 16th birthday, she was tabbed to represent Australia at the World Championships in Paris, where she ran on the nation's 4x100m relay team. In 2004, she won a bronze medal in the 100m and finished fourth in the 100m hurdles at the World Junior Championships.

Pearson first made her mark in 2001, when at the age of 14 she won the Australian under-20 100m title. The following year, Pearson competed with an undiagnosed stress fracture in her foot for most of the season. When the injury was diagnosed at the National All-Schools Championships, the Athletics Australia medical staff withheld her from the 200m, an event she broke the national record in with the injury, but allowed her to run the 90m hurdles and 4x100m, which she won.

Sharon Hannan was never an athlete. She became interested in track and field when she took her own daughter, Rishelle, to a youth meet when they lived in Cairns. It was there that she started the Little Athletics Centre with other local families and began taking coaching classes. Many years later she met and married Peter Hannan, a teacher and long jump coach managing the Gold Coast track. It was there that Hannan met Pearson and quickly recognized her talent.

When she first began coaching Pearson, she had coached a number of events but was "an expert at none." She quickly began learning everything she could about the hurdles, and even sought the advice of renowned coach Roy Boyd, who was guiding Australian men's 110m hurdles record-holder Kyle Vander Kuyp at the time. Despite that unorthodox start, Pearson and Hannan remain together as athlete and coach 13 years later.

Punctuality hasn't always been Pearson's strongest suit. As a young girl, she nearly missed the start of her hurdles race at a junior championship meet in Townsville because she was walking around the field daydreaming. When she realized, Pearson made a mad dash to the start line, making it in the nick of time. She overcame the frantic lead-up and a few trampled hurdles to win the race, catching the eye of her coach Sharon Hannan.

Pearson was raised by her single mother Anne, who worked two jobs to make enough money to support her daughter's athletic career. "(My mother's) my number one fan and she's obviously put her life on hold for me to become the best athlete in the world," Pearson said.

In late 2008, Pearson became engaged to her high school sweetheart Kieran Pearson. The two, who dated since their senior years at Helensvale State High, married on the Gold Coast in April of 2010 and honeymooned in Los Angeles and Hawaii.


How tall is Sally Pearson? How old is Sally Pearson? Where does Sally Pearson live? Find out here.

Age: 30 years old
Birthday: September 19, 1986
Height: 5' 5"
Weight: 130 lbs.
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Hometown: Gold Coast, Australia
Current Residence: Gold Coast, Australia

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