LONDON — When 10 hurdles are spaced out over 100 meters, Sally Pearson knows the fastest way over them.
Pearson, a 25-year-old from Australia, continued her domination of the 100-meter hurdles on Tuesday night at the London Games, defeating the reigning Olympic champion, Dawn Harper of the United States, and the rest of the field in an Olympic record 12.35 seconds to win her first gold medal.
In a steady rain, Pearson had to chase down her main rivals in the final. Harper led much of the way but was passed just before the finish line. She finished in 12.37 seconds for silver, and Kellie Wells of the United States was third in 12.48.
The finish was so close that Pearson, Harper and Wells waited in suspense until the official results were posted at the Olympic Stadium’s. When Pearson saw that she had won gold, she screamed and collapsed to the track.
Lolo Jones of the United States was fourth, with her best time of the season, 12.58 seconds. Despite not reaching the podium, it was a more satisfying result than what she attained at the 2008 Beijing Games, where she led before hitting the 9th of 10 hurdles, stumbling and finishing seventh.
She nearly failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team, placing third at the United States trials. She was the last of eight qualifiers for Tuesday night’s Olympic final.
Pearson, who won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, was named athlete of the year in 2011 by track and field’s world governing body after winning the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, with the fourth-fastest time in history, 12.28 seconds.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
4:44 PM dhm