London 2012: Sally Pearson – Athletics
This broadcast news segment covers Sally Pearson’s 100m hurdles gold medal – one of the great wins for Australia in recent Olympic history.
Clocking 12.57 seconds in the Round 1 heat and then setting a staggering 12.39 second time in the semis, Sally led the competition heading into the championship race.
As we can see in the footage, she got off to a perfect start hitting good time at the first hurdle and taking a narrow lead on her great competitor, the American Dawn Harper. The two fought it out across the proceeding nine hurdles, with Harper making a spirited charge at the end.
But in the run of her life – and with Australia’s expectations on her shoulders – Sally kept her nerve and finished strongly. The win, however, didn’t come easy – Sally had to wait for an agonising few moments before the judges confirmed the results. She’d won by 0.02 seconds – with an Olympic record time of 12.35.
The segment is a terrific example of how sports coverage has developed over time. This segment includes a complexity unseen in many other examples throughout the collection –with trackside interviews and up-close imagery capturing Sally at her starting block when the rain begins to fall.
We see zoomed shots of Sally’s family waiting anxiously in the crowd. And then, we are presented with her emotional celebration after the race (emphasised through slow motion). Also featured is Sally’s warm-hearted embrace with competitor Dawn Harper, this too seeming to draw the viewer into the middle of the action.
After the race, Sally is asked what she will do? 'Probably go have a cheeseburger', she replies – a well-deserved reward for a tremendous Olympic win and our first gold on the track since Cathy Freeman in 2000.
In this collection, you can also see Sally's race watched by fellow Australian Anna Meares, who won the gold medal in the track cycling sprint on the same day. Later on that unforgettable evening the two Australian champions spot one another and embrace, in recognition of their shared victories.
Excerpt from NBN News Newcastle, 8 August 2012.