Focused Pearson wins historic gold

3 years ago, 5 September 2011 (AEST)

It takes plenty of ingredients to make a champion.

Sally Pearson ticks all the boxes.

Natural talent. A penchant for hard work. Good coaching. Support from family and friends.

And single-mindedness.

No-one does single-mindedness like Sally Pearson.

And she has taken it to a new level in 2011, the year she made the massive breakthrough to become world champion in the 100m hurdles.

"Since winning the Commonwealth Games last year I've wanted this so badly," said the 24-year-old Queenslander after demolishing the field on Saturday night to win the world title in Daegu, with her time of 12.28 seconds moving her to fourth on the alltime list.

"I've made sure that I've focused on every single training session that I've done and haven't left anything on the track.

"I've given it my all and finally come out on the track and proven when I want something badly enough and stay focused enough that I can achieve it."

Mother Anne McLellan has supported her daughter all the way, working two jobs at times at make sure her daughter had access to all the support she needed.

She and coach Sharon Hannan know better than anyone that Pearson's total focus on being the best is a key part of her make-up.

"If you are going to be a great athlete you have to be like that, you have to be selfish," said McLellan.

"She is not demanding but she has to be focused and do what she has to do.

"Whatever she has to do she does."

Another key member of Team Pearson is husband Kieran, who has been by her side since they first met at Helensvale High School on the Gold Coast eight years ago.

He has taken time off work as a gas-fitter this year to travel the world with his wife, who has not lost a single race in 2011.

"She eats rice, white fish, lots of fresh vegetables, pretty much all fresh food," said Kieran Pearson.

"She has definitely gone to a new level with the diet this year.

"I lost six kilos in the first six weeks.

"Once she is set in her ways, it's no chocolate, no nothing."

Kieran Pearson recalls Sally returning from the world championships in Paris in 2003 - where she contested the 4x100m relay as a 16-year-old - convinced that being an elite athlete was her calling in life.

She hasn't once wavered from that goal.

A surprise silver medal at the Beijing Olympics was a major step, while the disappointment of finishing fifth at the 2009 world titles after getting injured in the buildup was a learning experience.

Then there was the drama of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, when Pearson was disqualified after finishing first in the 100m, before bouncing back to win the 100m hurdles title.

The next step in the journey is the London Olympics, where Pearson is set to be one of the superstars of an Australian team likely to include the likes of Cadel Evans, Ian Thorpe and Andrew Bogut.

Her mother says it won't change her daughter, who is not interested in the trappings of fame.

Athletics Australia high performance manager Eric Hollingsworth will be stressing to everyone in the track and field squad the importance of staying focused on the road to London.

"The emphasis will be that you really have to pay attention to detail because no matter how good you are or what your record is, you still have to get out there and produce the goods," he said.

It sounds every inch like the Pearson blueprint for success.

John Salvado
AAP

To download a wallpaper of Sally's memorable celebration when she won silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, click here

?