IAAF Centenary: Joanna Hayes & Sally Pearson Interview, notes by Larry Eder

Joanna Hayes, 2012 Olympic Trials, photo by PhotoRun.net

The day of interviews started with Joanna Hayes, 2004 Olympic gold medalist at 100 meter hurdles and Sally Pearson, 2012 Olympic gold medalist at 100 meter hurdles. Hayes, a coach, mother of one (soon to be mother of two), came back in 2012 to race, without a sponsor and made it to the US Trials. Sally Pearson, the top 100 meter hurdler of her era, is getting into her best form yet, while battling back problems. 

Sally Pearson, AREVA Paris DL, photo by PhotoRun.net
Sally Pearson is the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meter hurdles. She broke Joanna Hayes' Olympic record from Athens, eight years ago. In 2012, Joanna Hayes, track coach, mother of one, came back on the world hurdle scene with a vengence and no footwear sponsor. " It was tough, but I wanted to go out of the sport in my own time and in my own way. I have another baby on the way, and I am not competing this season. I am retired." 

Sally Pearson is pretty straight forward. " For me, it is not tough to train in Australia. For others, it is a lack of tracks. I took nine weeks off after the London Olympics, I needed to rest." 

Sally continued, " I have had back problems since 2005. In 2009, just before the world championships, I was on my back for two days. I was very concerned. " 

When asked about her back now, Sally Pearson did not mince words: " I am in some kind of pain most days. That is part of being an elite athlete. My back was sore before and during the games. The day of the final, my back was sore and I was not feeling good. I was very concerned. I was just happy to win and get the race over with."

That race, where Sally Pearson, 2008 Olympic silver medalist and Dawn Harper, 2008 Olympic gold medalist, duked it out. In the misty rain, Sally Pearson not only won, but broke Joanna Hayes' Olympic record, and pushed Dawn Harper to her lifetime best, taking the silver.

" I will not always be able to run in the Olympics, we need a new generation of Australian athletes." noted Pearson. In Queensland, where Pearson is from, she noted that a private high school there had a track meet where they had ten heats for the 100 meter hurdles. Guess Sally is having an effect on the Australian track and field scene. 

Joanna Hayes praised Sally Pearson. " I remember thinking before Daegu, that if Sally gets her finish down, she will win everything. And she did! "

About Sally Pearson breaking Joanna Hayes' Olympic record? " Oh, I wish she would have run 12.20 or something. When I saw it was 12.35, I went, couldn't she have broken it by much more, " said a laughing Hayes. 

A nice combination for a interview panel. 

The former Olympic champion, Joanna Hayes, who continues to comport herself as the Olympian she is, and Sally Pearson, who has grown into the World Championship gold and battled for the gold medal in the Olympics, with the rain, with her sore back and with the focus of all of Australia on her.  

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