Feeling it was time for a new start, Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson split with her coach Sharon Hannan this week, after an up-and-down 2013 season.
Pearson had been working with Hannan since 1999, one of the longest sporting partnerships in Australian sport, and so the news came as a surprise to many of her fans.
It had been a tough comeback season for Pearson, following an unbelievable last few seasons where she truly dominated the event. After her silver medal at the Beijing Olympics, Pearson won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, World Champs (indoor and outdoor) and the London Olympics between the 2010-12 seasons, being awarded ‘IAAF 2011 Female Athlete of the Year’ in the process. But after two serious hamstring injuries, Pearson failed to retain her World Title in Moscow, finishing a respectable second to in-form American Brianna Rollins.
On what seems an amicable parting, Pearson has said ‘Sharon is an amazing coach and I will continue to attribute my success to her, but my competitors are always striving to make themselves better and I must do the same’.
The 27-year-old has always been an incredible talent, having won gold at the World Youth Champs in Sherbrooke in 2003; she also has shown great sprint versatility by recording personal bests of 11.14s and 23.02s and running the anchor leg of the 4x400m at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010. But Pearson has decided that, in order to get back to world number one, a change in her set up was needed. A disappointed Hannan said ‘Sally and I discussed the options and she believes this is best for her. We conquered the world and I wish her every success in the future.’