Sally Pearson fulfilled a dream on Tuesday that was inspired 12 years ago when Cathy Freeman won 400 metres gold in front of more than 100,000 screaming Australians at the Sydney Olympics.
A dozen years and a lot of hard work later Pearson won the 100 metres hurdles title at the London Games,appropriately handing Australia their first track gold medal since Freemans emotional win.
Runner-up at the Beijing Games four years ago and World champion in Daegu last year,this was the crowning achievement for the 25-year-old Queenslander. Ive wanted this ever since I saw Cathy Freeman win gold at the Sydney Olympics, Pearson told reporters.
I thought how do I do that? how do I become the best athlete in the world? Winning a gold medal is not easy but I believed in myself,especially over the last four years. After I won the silver in Beijing,I knew I had the talent and self-belief to be the best in the world. This is everything I have ever wanted and more.
The Australians self-belief never wavered. I knew that my preparation was fantastic and I knew that one race couldnt stop me from winning an Olympic gold medal.
When Beijing Olympic champion Dawn Harper ran a personal best of 12.46 seconds in the semi-finals on Tuesday,it only strengthened Pearsons resolve and she ran her own seasons best time (12.39) in her heat.
Even when she was pushed all the way to the line by Wells and Harper in the final,she said she never really thought she had lost.
I had a little panic for a moment that I hadnt won it but I knew in my heart I had and it was just a matter of confirming it on the screen, she said.
Pearson,who finished in an Olympic record time of 12.35 to beat Harper by two hundredths of a second,said even the teeming London rain had not bothered her.