Brianna Rollins in the womens 100m Hurdles at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)
Australia’s defending World champion Sally Pearson, who took silver behind Brianna Rollins, admitted that she had allowed herself to hope for gold despite having a season that only really started in June following hamstring injuries.
“I am satisfied with silver,” she said. “It’s been a long tough season for me so to come away from here is very exciting, I can’t be disappointed with it. The person I congratulate the most is my coach, because we have been through such an emotional rollercoaster this year.”
Pearson, who qualified fastest to the final in 12.50 and then matched that time in the final, added that missing the Australian season at the start of the year had made it harder to arrive in Moscow in top shape.
“I think the Australian season really helps me in preparing for major championships because it means I can build my speed and strength up.
“I was discussing with my coach that I have missed probably about 150 hurdle clearances this year, and that showed, obviously. I didn’t have the finish that I usually have.
“So that was a little bit disappointing, but at the same time I have only been beaten by one person here and I can’t really be too disappointed with that. I pushed as hard as I could tonight, but I am heading into shape now and I am looking forward to my last few races of the season.”
The Olympic champion acknowledged that her semi-final win had given her real hope of earning another gold medal.
“Everyone goes into the race wanting to win, and there’s no shame in that. We do our best out there to become World champion and I definitely believed I could.
“The few weeks leading into this have been really fantastic training. I was cleaner over the hurdles, I was getting sharp in my starts, my speed on the track; everything was coming together. So I believed I could possibly win the World Championships but, hey, I wasn’t far off it!”
Rollins – my year of change
Rollins, who was racing in collegiate competition for Clemson University during the season, put her advance since the start of this year – in which she holds the 2013 best time of 12.26 – down to a change of attitude.
“During my freshman (first) year at college, I got injured and that was really devastating to me,” she said. “So over the last year I have worked at staying healthy. I have really re-committed myself to the event and worked more seriously at it.”
She acknowledged that she had a poor start before coming through to win her first major title in 12.44.
“I tried not to panic,” she said. “I know it was a very terrible start. I was just trying to control my pace as I went through the race.”
Asked if she felt the 25-year-old World record of 12.21, set by Bulgaria’s Yordanka Donkova in 1988, was within her reach, Rollins responded: “I don’t try to think about the World record. I just try to execute a great race, so I’m happy with tonight.”
With her 22nd birthday falling on Sunday, the victory the previous night was also an early birthday present for Rollins.
As her event’s medal ceremony on the last day of the championships, she will have plenty of memories from Moscow, despite the fact that the presentation team perhaps missed a trick and Happy Birthday didn’t ring out around the Luzhniki Stadium after the Star Spangled Banner.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF