LONDON (AP) -- London Olympics organizing chief Sebastian Coe said Thursday he could understand why 100-meter hurdles gold medalist Sally Pearson wondered about a 40-minute delay in her medal ceremony that saw it awarded in an emptying Olympic Stadium.
Pearson later said she didn't know what happened, although getting the medal "was very much worth that long wait."
"I don't know what was going on but I've finally got it (the medal) around my neck," Pearson said in comments in News Limited newspapers in Australia.
The Australian champion waited beyond the scheduled presentation time until the women's long jump final and men's decathlon 400-meter heats ended the Wednesday evening program.
Asked about the issue Thursday, Coe said that he was with Pearson while she waited to enter the arena.
"I sat with her and I can understand why she felt she was sitting there a little bit of time," the two-time Olympic 1,500 meters champion said.
"These things are never easy. The women's long jump was still in the latter stages and they didn't want to interrupt the flow of that competition."
Coe said the men's decathlon was an added "complication" for stadium officials and the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Pearson is not the first athletics champion to receive a gold medal when many spectators in the sold-out 80,000 stadium had left.