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Injuries force Pearson into retirement

Hurdling superstar Sally Pearson has no regrets after calling time on one of the greatest Australian sporting careers, acknowledging that her battered body can take no more punishment.

The 32-year-old won gold in the 100m hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics and is a two-time world champion.

She had dreamed of ending her career in spectacular style next year at the Tokyo Olympics, only for constant injury setbacks to force her hand.

"It's probably been a hard slog in particular from the London Olympics to now with my injury issues which are just ongoing and ongoing," Pearson told reporters on Tuesday.

"Every time I want to go fast the body doesn't want to.

"I don't think I could take any more injuries and I have huge doubts for the next year for me to be able to continue at the level that I expect of myself and also what the country expect of me when I go to the Olympics.

"It's been a wonderful ride... there's nothing I can be disappointed about.

"It's disappointing that I can't go to another Olympics but if I could I'd go to an Olympics every single year."

Pearson missed the 2015 world championships and 2016 Rio Olympics due to injury before making a remarkable comeback in 2017 when she coached herself to gold at the world titles in London.

But the curse struck again the following year, with a serious achilles problem forcing her to pull out of her hometown Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Pearson said she had suffered half a dozen injuries in 2019 alone; to her quad, calf, hamstring, knee and achilles as she tried desperately to make it to the start line for the world titles beginning in Doha in late September.

"I had a hamstring tear almost five weeks ago and that was fine because I know how to do hamstrings; I've had plenty of those in the past," she said.

"I know how to overcome them and that was probably my fifth injury of the year.

"When I was getting back into rehab I took about three weeks and started hurdling again and the achilles started to flare up and that was it.

"Because of last year in 2018 I wasn't going through that pain again.

"That was too much to take.

"At the end of the day it was wearing me down as a person as well."

Although the Olympic title in London was the triumph closest to her heart, the Queenslander was at the absolute peak of her powers the year earlier at the world titles in Daegu.

She smashed her personal best twice in the space of two hours in the semi-final and final, with her gold medal-winning time of 12.28 seconds lifting her to fourth on the all-time list.

But she described her 2017 world title as her "proudest" moment.

"It was something where I proved to myself that I could still do it even through the hard slog," she said.

Pearson's record of podium finishes at the major global championships just shades that of the great Cathy Freeman in the 400m.

Freeman won gold and silver at the Olympics and two world titles, while Pearson claimed Olympic gold and silver, two world titles and was also runner-up at the 2013 world championships.


2012 Olympic 100m hurdles gold medallist (also silver in 2008)

2011 and 2017 world 100m hurdles champion (also silver in 2013)

2010 and 2014 Commonwealth 100m hurdles champion

2012 world indoor 60m hurdles champion

2011 IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year

© AAP 2019