SYDNEY • A day short of her seventh anniversary as an Olympic champion, Sally Pearson revealed she finally got the message her body has been delivering with increasing regularity.
The 32-year-old Australian, who won the 100 metres hurdles gold medal at London in 2012 in an Olympic record time despite the rain, yesterday announced her retirement from track and field.
The two-time world champion over the 100m hurdles said after years of injuries, her body "is just not up to it". "After 16 years of being on the Australian team, it's time to hang up the spikes," she told a press conference in Sydney.
Recounting a litany of injuries which have plagued her since she won gold at the London Games, Pearson said the problems were "just ongoing and ongoing". "Every time I want to go fast, the body doesn't want to. So, I don't think I could take any more injuries," she said.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Pearson said she reached the decision after realising she could not deliver on her own high expectations.
"I'm leaving my sport happy, still loving my sport, still loving the training, still loving competing," she said in a video posted on social media. "But my body has decided that it's time to let it go."
Despite the injury setbacks, her announcement was unexpected after she reaffirmed a month ago that she was on track to return to competition at the Doha world championships next month.
In addition to her Olympic win, her storied career included golds at the 2011 and 2017 world championships and the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games. She is the reigning Olympic and world championship record holder in the 100m hurdles, and a former International Association of Athletics Federations Female Athlete of the Year.
Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll hailed Pearson, saying: "She did not accept compromises or settle for half-measures... While we are enormously disappointed that Sally will not be going to Tokyo 2020, we understand when an athlete honestly assesses the future and makes that difficult decision to call time."
ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE