Say it ain’t so, Sally.
Say it ain’t so, Sally.

Sally Pearson’s retirement bombshell

Olympic gold medallist Sally Pearson - one of the biggest stars of Australian athletics - has retired in a huge blow to our Tokyo 2020 team.

The Herald Sun's Scott Gullan reports Pearson - the 100m hurdles gold medallist at the 2012 London Games - has been brought down by unshakeable injury problems.

The stunning news comes less than a fortnight after she appeared in Sydney to promote the 12-month countdown to next year's Olympics in Tokyo.

The 32-year-old had given no indication of the pending end to her stellar career.

Pearson confirmed the news on her Instagram account, where she said her body simply could no longer handle to taxing training load of a professional athlete.

"I am here to let you all know that I have decided to retire from my sport of athletics," she posted.

"It has been a long 16 years, but also a fun and exciting 16 years. My body has decided it is time to let it go, and move forward onto a new direction."

She told Channel 7's Sunrise the real reason she has been forced into retirement is that she has endured six injuries in the past six months that she previously chose not to announce.

The injury toll included a quad strain, a torn calf muscle, an inflamed hamstring, a knee complaint that required an injection, a torn hamstring and another aggravated Achilles injury.

When asked by Olympic commentary legend Bruce McAvaney if her decision was final, Pearson responded: "When you count six injuries this year that no one knows about and another whole year to go of training to the Olympics, to try and win gold, I have major doubts my body will make it.

"I don't know if I want to put myself through that again. 2018 was horrible with my Achilles tendon, and not being able to run at my home town Commonwealth Games. That was devastating. I don't think it is fair to do that to that to myself and my body, as well."

She said the decision to "hang up her spikes" left her numb and unable to even cry over the last few days because she was in a spin about whether she was making the right decision or not.

In the end her body made the decision for her.

Pearson became a breakout star after winning her pet event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi before proving she was world-class at the 2011 world championships in Daegu.

She sealed her place as an athletics great by charging home to win in London before adding another Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow in 2014.

But injuries began to bite as Pearson missed the Rio Olympics. She bounced back for perhaps the most heroic win of her career by claiming an unexpected world title back in London in 2017 before also missing last year's Commonwealth Games on her home turf of the Gold Coast through injury.

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