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Sally Pearson wins women's 100 metres hurdles gold

Updated: Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 22:06 | Comments

Sally Pearson takes gold in a tight finish
Sally Pearson takes gold in a tight finish

World champion Sally Pearson won the women's 100 metres hurdles in a thrilling blanket finish to give Australia their first gold medal in athletics at the London Olympics.

The dominant sprint hurdler of the last two years, Pearson was hot favourite to win gold to add to the silver she won in Beijing four years ago.

The 25-year-old led from the start but Americans Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells pushed her all the way and it was the Australian's low dip as she crossed the line in 12.35 seconds that won her gold.

Pearson faced a nervous wait before her name flashed up on the scoreboard and collapsed in a ball on the track in delight when her victory in an Olympic record time was confirmed.

"It's a dream," she told reporters. "Relief was the first thing I felt and then shock. I'm just going through the emotions. I really wanted this.

"I didn't realise how close Dawn was until the end. I said in my head, 'please don't let this happen, I need this'. I never let anything stop me from doing what I want to do."

Defending champion Harper took silver in 12.37 and Wells won bronze in 12.48, both athletes running personal bests.

"I am happy to win a silver, there was so much pressure on me," said Harper.

"I couldn't feel her, it was so close crossing the line and I just didn't know what had happened."

Pearson got a big hug from Wells and another from her coach of 14 years Sharon Hannan before draping herself in her country's flag for her lap of honour.

It was a first gold medal on the athletics track for Australia since Cathy Freeman won the 400 metres at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Although her mother is English, Pearson describes herself as very much a "true blue Aussie" and her gold medal will provide a much-needed boost for her country after a disappointing first 10 days of the Games.

Americans finished second, third and fourth with Lolo Jones, who tripped on a hurdle when leading in the final at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, the only one to miss out on a medal.

"I am pleased to say at least I can lift my head up a little bit higher when I tell my kids their mom ran in the Olympics," she said. "It won't be a bittersweet memory. At least this time it was a clean smooth race. I just wish I had a better result."

Earlier in the evening, Ireland's Derval O'Rourke suffered disappointment after she failed to progress from the semi-finals of the same event.

O'Rourke equalled her season's best time on 12.91, but was only able to finish fifth in her semi-final.

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Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
Full Table

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