Sally Pearson, Brianna Rollins and Valerie Adams have all been global champions of their events in recent years and the trio were seated alongside each other at the traditional pre-meeting press conference for the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on Wednesday (4).
Q: What sort of shape are you all in coming into the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea tomorrow night, and what do you expect from your competitions?
Sally Pearson: I haven’t really raced since my national champs in April, I did do a small race on the Gold Coast two weeks ago, so I’m in good shape. I expect fast times, especially running against Brianna. I think we can push each other to good times if there is good weather.
Brianna Rollins: I’m excited for the competition because this is my first Diamond League ever, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to running against Sally, in fact all the other hurdlers. We should have a really good competition.
Valerie Adams: I’m really happy to come back because the last time was two years ago, just before the Olympics. It was actually the last time I threw more than 21 metres, it was a meet record (21.03m). The Olympics, well that’s another story. I’m really excited to be here, Rome is a good place to be. I went to see the Pope this morning! Hopefully, tomorrow will be good for me, Christina Schwanitz from Germany has thrown over 20 metres a couple of times so it will be good for me to compete against her, I haven’t seen her since the World Indoor Championships in March.
Q: Valerie, going off to see the Pope, that’s a bit of diversion! Are you going to stay on in Rome for a few extra days?
VA: Well, the life of an athlete means that I could only go to The Vatican for an hour this morning. In fact, I go straight from here, from Rome to a meeting in Marrakech for a competition on Sunday and then fly to New York for the next Diamond League meeting. The life of an athlete is that you see hotels more than anywhere else; oh, and airports! Since Doha, my last meeting, I’ve really just been in Switzerland and training. I’ve been just trying to keep the body in one piece, and have fun on the circuit.
Q: Brianna, perhaps this hasn’t been as good a start to the season as last year, with your defeat at your summer opener at the Drake Relays, what are your thoughts about that? Also you didn’t compete indoors, what’s your thoughts about the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot?
BR: Well, I actually opened up faster than I did last year so I am happy with that. I’m looking forward to the season and I'm in great shape. I should have a great season as far as I’m concerned. As far as the World Indoors, Nia Ali took it very well, it was a great competition and there were some great athletes in the race.
Q: Sally, you’ve been competing at the very highest level in World Championships ever since you won the hurdles at the World Youth Championships in 2003. How difficult is it to stay at the top?
SP: It can be quite difficult. I’ve had some injuries over the years coming into major championships, which can be quite disappointing. You just have to stay positive, that’s one of the hardest things, especially for me. I tend to get really down on myself and I am quite hard on myself, when I’m training I want the best out of myself and I’m a perfectionist so if it’s not going well, then I tend to struggle quite a lot. So, it’s hard for me to sometimes realise that I don’t have to be at my best all the time and I only have to be like that when I get over here (Europe and the IAAF Diamond League) and for the major championships. It can be quite difficult for me to relax and take my time as I like to get things done quickly, as fast as possible. At the same time, I love what I do, that keeps me going and I’ve been doing it for a long time, so that’s why I do it.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF