Sally is committed to her daily training sessions, putting so much into them she often vomits on the track. Her coach Sharon Hannan says Sally has always been completely committed to her training, even as a young girl. "She never put something before training, ever, and that's unheard of," says Sharon. "Kids have social lives and they have lots of pulls in different directions, but they weren't pulls for her. Training was first and I've never come across a kid before or since with that same commitment."
Sally was devastated when she finished fifth in the 100m hurdles final at the 2009 World Championships. She had been the favourite to win the event and the disappointment triggered a depression she was still trying to free herself from months later. "I went downhill big-time mentally because I was just so devastated," says Sally, who sees a psychologist to deal with training and performance pressure. "I couldn't do what I wanted to do and I wasn't doing it as well as I wanted to, and that was really hard for me to deal with, but it's slowly coming," she says.
Sally has been working with her coach Sharon since she was 12 years old (she is now 25). They are frequently told they fight like mother and daughter. "It's definitely a love-hate relationship," says Sally. "Me and Sharon never see eye to eye, but I'm getting a personal best every single year, so if it's not broken, why fix it?"
Her mother didn't have a car, so Sally took a series of buses after school to make it to training. She may have been a perfectionist, but she was no prima donna. "Sal wore rags," recalls Sharon. "She just wore probably one set of clothes for four or five years until the arse fell out of it. They never had any money, but when they did, it went to catching buses to training."
Sally married Kieran Pearson in 2010. The pair went to high school together and started dating in their senior year. When he proposed, six years later, "I just knew," says Sally. "We get along so well. We barely fight. If you're happy and comfortable, what's to wait for?"