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LOCOG explains Pearson ceremony delay
22:25 AEST Thu Aug 9 2012

London Olympics organisers say they held back Sally Pearson's medal ceremony to avoid interrupting the final stages of the women's long jump.

For reasons that were unclear at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night, Pearson received her gold medal about 30 minutes late, when half the crowd had left.

A statement from LOCOG on Thursday said organisers in the stadium chose to move the ceremony to the "next available slot in the schedule".

"At the time the women's 100m hurdles medal ceremony was originally due to take place, the women's long jump competition was reaching a climax," the LOCOG statement said.

"It was therefore decided by the sports presentation management at the Olympic Stadium that this live action should continue."

London Olympics organising chief Sebastian Coe said he can understand why Pearson may have wondered about the delay.

Coe said he was with Pearson while she waited to enter the arena on Wednesday "and I can understand why she felt she was sitting there a little bit of time."

Coe said officials "didn't want to interrupt the flow of the competition."

Australian team boss Nick Green, who read the LOCOG statement to reporters, said Pearson was "a little bit disappointed" with the delay.

"Naturally she was expecting a medal at a certain time and athletes don't like waiting, that's generally the way we are," Green said.

"They just want to get on with it and that's just an athletes' mindset."

But for Pearson, it was very much worth the wait, even if the Olympic Stadium was only half full by the time it happened at the tail end of Wednesday night's track and field session.

"I don't know what was going on, but I've finally got it (the medal) around my neck," said the 25-year-old Pearson at the end of a long and exhausting day of media commitments following her thrilling victory over Americans Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells.

"This gold medal is the ultimate sporting achievement any athlete can achieve so I'm just in awe of it at the moment.

"I haven't been able to show what I've done.

"I won the 100m hurdles but I had nothing to show for it except for my name in the history books obviously.

"But to have this around my neck means I can show everyone what I've done."

It was the 20th Olympic track and field gold medal won by an Australian.

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