Americans seek gold in women's 100M hurdles

Australia's Pearson posts fastest time going into final

Published On: Aug 09 2012 02:26:45 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 07 2012 11:31:08 PM EDT

After a disappointing start to the 2012 Olympics for Australia, Sally Pearson gave her fellow Aussies something to cheer for Tuesday by setting a new Olympic record on her way to gold in the women's 100-meter hurdles.

Right behind her were two of the Americans in the field, although the most talked about of the three, Lolo Jones, finished out of medal contention in fourth place.

Pearson ran a 12.35, breaking the previous Olympic record of 12.37 seconds set by Joanna Hayes of United States at 2004's Athens Olympics. Silver and bronze medals were captured by the U.S.A.'s Dawn Harper (12.37) and Kellie Wells (12.48).

The gold medal for Pearson was the fourth gold medal of the 2012 Olympics so far for Australia, which has not won any other medals in London.

Jones just squeaked into the finals Tuesday, posting the second-slowest qualifying time in semifinals with a time of 12.71. On the flip side, Pearson was the favorite going into the final, posting the fastest time in the semifinal heats -- and in the world this years -- with 12.39 seconds.

During the 2008 Beijing Games, Jones was an inch too low and clipped the ninth hurdle in the 100-meter final, finishing seventh after leading the entire race. Her fall allowed Harper the gold and Pearson the silver in 2008. Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, who failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, earned bronze in 2008.

Since 2008, Jones has fought through injuries and it looked unlikely at one point that she would even qualify for the London Games. Jones finished third at the U.S. Olympic trials in late June, behind Harper and Wells.

Although Pearson is the new Olympic record-holder in the event, the world record still belongs to Bulgaria's Yordanka Donkova, who ran a 12.21 at the Bulgarian Championship in August 1988.