Pearson celebrates Comm Games gold, exit of coach
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Draped in an Australian flag, a gold medal round her neck, Olympic champion Sally Pearson was ready to unload her frustrations.
Having defended her Commonwealth 100-meters hurdles title in Glasgow on Friday, Pearson didn’t hold back in expressing delight at the downfall of the coach who criticized her pre-games conduct.
As Pearson was adding to her Olympic title, Athletics Australia head coach Eric Hollingsworth was far from Scotland, having been sent home for a public outburst against one of the country’s sporting stars.
“I am so glad that I really didn’t have to lift a finger to get him off the team,” Pearson said at Hampden Park on Friday.
“That’s the most important thing — to get rid of the negativity that people have been having to bear for the last five years is very exciting.”
Hollingsworth cut Pearson’s funding for her games preparations after she opted not to attend the team training camp in England, saying “her no-show sets a bad example to the entire national team.”
But Pearson insisted that she is a great supporter of Australia as team captain. She felt it would be advantageous to prepare for the games by competing in London rather than attending the training camp.
“It’s sad because I guess I was the last supporter he had on the Australian team — he messed that up himself really,” Pearson said.
“I felt really put down and he spoke down to me harshly. I thought at the time, ‘I am the sort of person who, if you are going to treat me like that, you are not going to get much respect afterwards.’”
But it was Pearson being acclaimed on Friday after becoming the first woman in 40 years to defend her Commonwealth hurdles title, clocking 12.67 seconds to finish ahead of Tiffany Porter of England and Angela Whyte of Canada.
“Crossing the finish line is pure relief,” Pearson said. “The weight just comes off your shoulders — that’s what happens when you get out of the blocks. You just pour your heart into race.”
Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris