Reports: 2012 champion Pearson withdraws from Rio Olympics

AP, Wednesday 29 Jun 2016

Pearson
Australian Olympic team member Sally Pearson poses during the official launch of the team uniforms for the 2016 Rio Olympics, in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia, April 19, 2016 (Reuters)

Olympic champion Sally Pearson has reportedly withdrawn from the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro because of a hamstring injury.

The Herald Sun newspaper and other Australian media reported Wednesday that Pearson, the 100-meter hurdles Olympic gold medalist in London four years ago and silver medalist at Beijing in 2008, injured a hamstring while training on Australia's Gold Coast.

Pearson, captain of the Australian track and field team for the Aug. 5-21 Olympics, earlier said her preparation had been hampered by a ''niggly hamstring.''

The 29-year-old Pearson only returned to competition on June 5, a year and a day after seriously breaking her left wrist in a racing accident at a Diamond League meet in Rome. She had three races in Europe before returning to Australia to work on her speed, skipping a scheduled run in Stockholm.

Athletics Australia issued a statement saying Pearson would hold a news conference at the Gold Coast on Thursday morning local time, and had no further comment.

Pearson's agent, Robert Joske, did not return telephone or email requests from AP for confirmation. He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Pearson would not be available to media until Thursday.

In a previous update on her condition, Pearson posted a message on Twitter on June 13, saying ''I'm not injured! I'm healthy and happy! I came home 2 get another week of training in for my preps for rio! I hope this clears things up!!!!''

Six days later she posted another update on her website, writing how she'd arrived in Birmingham ''full of hope and excitement'' but was disappointed with her times ''and also disappointed that my body was letting me down.''

''This has been a big year, broken bones, torn calf, degenerative Achilles and hammy problems and that's just with me. Sometimes I wonder why I still continue to do this sport.''

Responding to her own question, she added that she had ''the pure determination that I can overcome the setbacks and still deliver my best.''

Pearson had strapping on her left hamstring when she raced in Birmingham, and trailed home in seventh place in 13.25 seconds - almost a second slower than her personal best and a time she described as ''disgusting.''

Immediately after the Birmingham race, Pearson cited her silver medal at the 2013 world championships only six races back from injury and her win at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as examples of her ability to overcome the injuries and the odds against her.

''Last year was a write off, let's forget about that,'' she said. ''I know I've done it in the past and I think it's very realistic that I can keep doing it this year.''

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