Sally Pearson (© Getty Images)
6 December 2012 - Sally Pearson and Mitchell Watt were crowned Australia’s Female and Male Athletes of the Year at the 2012 Athlete of the Year Awards presented by Eurosport on Thursday (5).
Pearson also won the 2012 Outstanding Performance Award to round off what has been a stellar 18 months for the 26-year-old, who took the 100m hurdles gold medals at the 2011 IAAF World Championships and 2012 Olympic Games and was voted the Female World Athlete of the Year for 2011.
In 2012, she clocked what was then a world-leading time of 12.49 in Melbourne in March before heading overseas and Pearson then thrilled her fans with an superb Olympic record of 12.35 as part of her gold medal winning performance in London.
"Awards like this are important because it makes me realise that all the hard work I do is appreciated by others, and that's more than I can ask for,” said Pearson, after winning Australia’s top domestic award for the second consecutive year.
"The gold medal in London has always been a dream, and to share that with my family and Sharon my coach was so special. Onward and upward though, with the World Championships next year where I hope to defend my title.
"Hurdlers in my event aren't afraid to race each other so I will see how they are all tracking leading into Moscow and I will be sure to be on my game, as healthy and fit as possible, to deliver a medal."
Long jumper Watt won a silver medal at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu and then made it four medals from four major international championships by finishing second at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
"To come this far after arriving at the track to see Gary (Bourne, his coach) five years ago when I was 10 kilos heavier is amazing. It's something I have dreamed of since watching Jai (Taurima) win silver at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and I honestly have to pinch myself sometimes.
"I am so appreciative of my sponsors. I am lucky to be a full-time athlete thanks to them, and for that reason I am also so amazed at how some balance work and training so beautifully.
"I want that gold medal next year. Silver have been great and the more I look back on London the more I am proud, but I want it and hope to win it in Moscow."
Also honoured were Kyle Vander Kuyp, Roy Boyd and Geoff Martin.
Vander Kuyp was named a recipient of the Edwin Flack Award as a testament to his years of service to athletics in Australia, while Boyd and Martin were elevated from Life Member of Athletics Australia to Life Governor of Athletics Australia.
Athletics Australia for the IAAF