MELBOURNE: Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson has been crowned Australia’s most inspirational athlete of the past 12 months.
Pearson, 28, claimed her second “The Don” award at a function in Melbourne late Thursday, a prize named in honour of the Australia Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductee and cricket immortal Don Bradman.
She beat a shortlist of stars that included Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo, tennis teenager Nick Kyrgios and Test fast bowler Mitchell Johnson.
“I couldn’t even believe I was nominated this time,” said Pearson, whose gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics led to her winning her initial The Don award.
“I’ve had an up-and-down year and all I was thinking about was how to get better for next year and 2016.”
Pearson had an emotional 2014 in which she defended her Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles title in Glasgow after recovering from a recurring hamstring injury to compete.
She also had a publicised fall-out from now ex-national athletics coach Eric Hollingsworth on the eve of her Commonwealth event.
“The measure of a champion is not how they deal with success, but how they deal with adversity,” selection committee chair Robert de Castella said of Pearson.