ATHLETICS: Single-minded Sally Pearson insists a sickening compound fracture won't thwart her historic quest for back-to-back Olympic gold medals.
Pearson has no clear timeframe for a return to racing after breaking two bones and dislocating her wrist in a nasty tumble at the Diamond League meet in Rome in June.
But the 29-year-old is not only back up and running, but also adamant she's ahead of the game in her bid to become the first woman in Olympic history to successfully defend her gold medal in the 100m hurdles.
The injury - and subsequent surgery - sidelined Pearson from the world championships in Beijing in August.
Australia's golden girl of the track says the setback has had no major impact on her preparations for next year's Rio Games.
"I'm probably eight weeks ahead of most of my other competitors at the moment simply because I didn't get to go to the worlds," Pearson told AAP on Tuesday.
"I've been training while they've been competing. I'm running already and training quite hard. It's been intense."
Pearson doesn't plan to return to competition until early next year, with her main concern regaining strength and flexibility in her left thumb so she can push-off for starts, a critical component for sprinters.
"So it just depends on how this recovery goes really, how strong I can get it," she said.
"Especially coming out of the block, it can be a bit difficult.
"I've only been able to move my thumb in the last few weeks. Trying to get all the finer details in my fingers working again, that's quite difficult.
"I can actually hold myself up. It's just being able to get my wrist in the right position (to push off)."
Dismissing fears she may be behind the eight-ball, Pearson said she wouldn't be practising starts until January even if she wasn't injured.
Sitting out the world championships was a blow for Pearson, with Jamaican Danielle Williams' winning time of 12.57 seconds well shy of the Australian's gold-medal efforts at the 2011 world titles and the London Olympics.
"I was in really good shape leading into them," she said.
"Even in that race in Rome something went wrong with my calf as well so I didn't get to execute the season that I knew I had in me."
Williams upstaged the favoured US hurdlers to win gold in Beijing, to Pearson's surprise.
"A lot of the main girls I thought were going to do well and get medals didn't and either fell over, had false starts or hit hurdles," she said.
"They just weren't consistent throughout the race and I've shown that when I've raced at major events that I can be the most consistent hurdler and that's the key to winning.
"The whole experience just makes me realise that nothing's guaranteed in sport and you always have to make sure you're ticking off the one percenters to be the best in the world."