Last summer Sally Pearson ran a blistering 12.35 for 100m hurdles gold and the Olympic record. Last week, she went one better and set a new world record. Pearson ran the egg and spoon 100m in 16.59 on the streets of Sydney, and explains to SPIKES how an uber-competitive streak and a background in three-legged races helped her to… er, crack the WR.
How did the opportunity to break this world record come about?
"The Holiday Inn were putting on a big PR campaign with the motto ‘little things make a big difference.’ They put on a big campaign on the back of this to set up a few Guinness World Records on the same day.
"One of the world records was for the egg and spoon race. They wanted someone who was famous and fast, and that’s why I got a call about a week before the race."
What were your initial thoughts?
"That sounds cool. I love doing things that are a little different. I like to show a different side to my personality. Rather than just being all intense, like at a major championship, I can be quite fun and down to earth."
Did you ever do the egg and spoon race at school?
"I have done it before, but not at school. At school my friend and I were the champions at the three-legged race. I’d love to have a crack at the three-legged race world record. I used to be really good at the sack race at school. I did a lot of crazy events at school, so the egg and spoon was nothing new to me."
Which athlete would you pick as your perfect three-legged partner?
"It would have to another sprinter and someone quite short in size because I’m not that big. Or it could be Usain Bolt and he could just carry me the whole way [laughs]."
Competitive Sally: hurdles, eggs, spoons, the gym – she’ll take you all on!
Did you have much opportunity to prepare?
"A week was enough. The day before I went down to Sydney I had a go in my back yard, but that was only 30-40 metres long. I then went to my manager’s house who has a lane at the back of the house.
"I tried it, as a little bit of fun, and I wasn’t too bad. I was holding the spoon a certain way and for some reason it seemed to bounce all over the place. Then for some reason I decided to change by grip and suddenly it felt really good. It felt a lot sturdier. I’m glad I had practised that way because it made me confident I could break the record. I’m very competitive and wanted to break the record!"
Can you tell SPIKES what the golden grip is?
"I don’t really know if I want to tell anyone, that’s my secret (laughing)!"
You really are competitive! On the start line, were you confident of breaking the previous record of 19.39?
"I was, but initially they set up a 50m course with a turn in the middle. This meant I would lose time slowing down to round the turn and there was also a bigger risk I would drop the egg.
"I asked Channel Nine, who were filming the event, if could they stretch out the course [in Sydney city centre] to a straight 100m. They did so, even though they had to stop the traffic!"
Were you nervous on the start line?
"No, I wasn’t that nervous. I was more nervous of the thought of standing in the middle of the street and a bus would hit me."
How did the race go?
"I broke the record with my second attempt. For my first attempt, which was live on TV, the egg fell off six metres before the finish line. They managed to record my second attempt and show it the next day!"
Would you give the record another bash?
"Of course, yes."
What do you reckon, egg and spoon for the 2020 Olympics?
"Why not? When all the athletes have finished their event we could do some odd events. What about a world championships of events like the sack, three-legged race and egg and spoon? A three-legged race with the top sprinters would be fantastic!"