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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Pearson says grass is not greener - suck it up & work harder

Pearson says grass is not greener - suck it up & work harder

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Hurdler Sally Pearson and coach Sharon Hannan are hunting for Olympic gold

by: Damien Stannard
From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
February 12, 2012

Australia's Sally Pearson, right, celebrates with her coach Sharon Hannan, left, after winning the Women's 100m Hurdles final at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Source: AP

SALLY Pearson and her coach Sharon Hannan are together for the long haul.

Track and field's odd couple has been inseparable for 13 years and their bond will become tighter as they chase the sport's greatest prize.

Hannan once told this newspaper she expected her star pupil would one day leave their Gold Coast stable to stimulate faster times.

"I have absolutely no doubt that at some stage of her career there will come a time when she may need to look elsewhere for coaching," Hannan said shortly after Pearson's silver medal in the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

However, Pearson has revealed she is going nowhere.

Unlike those in the sport who switch coaches like they change underwear, the world champion has pledged her future to Hannan and her husband Peter, who is her strength and conditioning coach.

"The grass is not greener," Pearson said. "A lot of athletes who still compete really well seem to change coach because they think the grass is greener.

"If you're bored then too bad. Suck it up and work harder."

Pearson and Hannan have been a team since Sally's mother approached the coach at a Little Athletics carnival.

It is an interesting dynamic. Pearson is intense and driven while Hannan is calm and softly spoken.

As Pearson points out, it is not a mother-daughter relationship. Nor are they mates.

"We're still athlete and coach, nothing more than that," she insists.

Their checks and balances have combined to produce a world champion hurdler capable of winning Olympic gold and breaking a 23-year-old world record.

"She knows my body better than I do," Pearson said.

"I motivate myself. But as an athlete you hire someone to get the best out of you.

"They have the knowledge and you expect them to get you to be the best.

"To trust her with that is a huge relief. She's never done wrong by me and that's why I've never left her."

The partnership has evolved. Hannan still has to employ Jedi mind tricks to convince her charge to ease off the accelerator at times.

And Pearson is more receptive to that than she once was.

"Over the last two years it's been a bit more relaxed because she's had some success," Hannan said.

"We're both a little bit easier because we know we're on the right path."

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