Sally open to any role in Games opening
GOLD Coast Commonwealth Games poster girl Sally Pearson says she is willing to do whatever job opening ceremony organisers want her to do as the city's highest-profile current athlete.
Athletes often bypass Games opening ceremonies in order to rest for upcoming events, but Pearson said she knew she was running the Queen's Baton in a leg at Southport on April 4, the day of the opening ceremony.
Asked if she would accept a role at the Games opening ceremony if offered or would view it jeopardising her 100m hurdles preparation, she said: "I'd definitely love to be part of whatever they have going.
"At this stage I know I have No.3 on my shirt as the baton bearer at Southport on the fourth. "It's all I know at this stage.''
Roles for the opening ceremony for senior athletes include the Australian team's flag carrier, the bearer of the Queen's Baton inside Carrara Stadium and the reader of the athletes' oath on behalf of all commonwealth Game competitors.
Cathy Freeman agreed to light the cauldron at the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony even though it meant standing for hours and risking a loss of focus for her 400m campaign in 2000.
"It's down to what they want for the opening ceremony. I'm definitely going to the opening ceremony so if I have an extra job, then I'll be there,'' Pearson said.
Pearson says she has felt like a "rookie'' at times in her strong comeback from injuries in 2015 and 2016, but is determined to heed how she reacts physically at 31 during her preparations for the Gold Coast Games.
The Gold Coaster said sometimes she wanted to "escape'' from the interest in her home city about the Games but she took a season's best time of 12.65sec last Saturday in Brisbane as evidence that her self-coached preparations for the big home meet were proceeding well.
Pearson would clinch Commonwealth Games selection for Australia if she wins the 100m final in the national titles, which start on Thursday at Carrara Stadium.
"You can't block out the pressure of the Commonwealth Games being in your home town, but you have to work with it,'' she said.
"The pressure is more because the crowd is yours - it's your home town. Sometimes you want to escape it so you can focus on what you have to do.''
Pearson, Australia's world 100m hurdles champion, said the company of the nominees she joins for the Laureus World Sport comeback of the year award on February 27 in Monaco will help motivate her for Games glory.
The other nominees for the award are tennis star Roger Federer, football teams Barcelona and Chapecoense, MotorGP rider Valentino Rossi and world 100m champion Justin Gatlin.
"I never thought I'd be alongside those athletes. It's a huge honour,'' she said.
Pearson, the 2012 London Olympics gold medallist in the 100m hurdles, said she hoped to race at the 2020 Tokyo Games when she would be coming up to her 34th birthday.