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Triathletes brace themselves for Beijing -

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KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Even though the Olympics are now well under way with another gold in the
pool today for Leisel Jones, some competitors believe it or not are still to leave Australia. The
triathlon team flies out tomorrow, wary of what it will confront in Beijing. Only marathon is as
taxing, over more than two gruelling hours competitors will have to swim 1.5km, cycle another 40
and finish with a 10km run.

In the women's event Australia's Emma Snowsill is one of the favourites for gold. But she'll need
to draw on her noted stamina and determination to prevail.

7.30's Olympic correspondent Paul Lockyer reports from Beijing.

PAUL LOCKYER, REPORTER: Jet has been a trusted training partner for Emma Snowsill on her long
grinding runs on Queensland's Gold Coast.

EMMA SNOWSILL, TRIATHLETE: I put the belt on, and yeah, he gets me moving sometimes, yeah, look,
it's good fun. You know, I train predominantly on my own so it's good to, you know, to get out
there.

PAUL LOCKYER: The three time world champion is certainly in top form. Snowsill has won four
international triathlons in a row this year to install herself as the gold medal favourite in
Beijing.

EMMA SNOWSILL: I definitely don't look at it as being a pressure to perform. I feel like I am just
wanting to do, you know, my country proud. I'm very excited to basically represent my country at an
Olympic Games, and obviously gold medal would be a fantastic, you know, way to come out at it in
Beijing.

CRAIG WALTON, OLYMPIAN: She's been so competitive over the last two or three years, I mean we would
be disappointed I suppose disappointed to a certain degree if she didn't win the gold medal.

PAUL LOCKYER: Fiancée Craig Walton is guiding Emma Snowsill's Beijing build up. He recently retired
after a career which took him to the top in triathlon, and won him a place in the Sydney Olympics
team.

CRAIG WALTON: I like to use my experiences from Sydney and the mistakes that I made and all the
mistakes that I have made over the 15 years of my career and really transfer that over to Emma and
really just help her make the right decisions.

PAUL LOCKYER: The Gold Coast was always seen as the perfect training base for Beijing.

EMMA SNOWSILL: I'm a Gold Coast girl and enjoy the heat and humidity, always feel better in
training when it's hot and always enjoy racing when it's really warm.

CRAIG WALTON: I know for Emma she's hoping it will be 40, 50 degrees and as much humidity as
possible. She loves the heat.

PAUL LOCKYER: But Beijing's infamous smog is another thing. It reaches far beyond the Chinese
capital to the Great Wall and all the outlying Olympic venues.

Australia's athletes have consistently played down the problems. They clearly don't want to create
a negative mindset before competition and stress that sport scientists have gone to extraordinary
lengths to identify anyone in the team with a breathing problem.

NURSE: Your time starts now. Deep breaths in and out.

PAUL LOCKYER: Every athlete in the Australian team was rigorously tested to pinpoint asthma or any
breathing ailments that might flare up in Beijing. Even the fittest of endurance competitors found
the going tough.

COURNEY ATKINSON, TRIATHLETE: It's not as easy as it looks.

NURSE: No.

COURNEY ATKINSON, TRIATHLETE: It's just as difficult breathing into the big balloon as any race I
have done to be honest.

PAUL LOCKYER: Courtney Atkinson got the all clear, and was quickly on a bike in a training schedule
that often extends to eight hours a day. For all of Australia's domination of triathlon through its
growth in the 1990s, the men are yet to win an Olympic medal.

COURNEY ATKINSON: We probably haven't quite come up to expectations, definitely the favourites
haven't always won and, you know, there's always a surprise packet. So it's an interesting race.

PAUL LOCKYER: Like Emma Snowsill, Courtney Atkinson relishes the heat and humidity. He finished
second in the Beijing test event last year.

COURNEY ATKINSON: Going back 10 years ago every session kind of adds up, and you've kind of, it's
like putting money in the bank the whole time. And hopefully all that hard effort will pay off in
the end.

PAUL LOCKYER: Emma Snowsill is renowned for her work ethic. But she was mystified when her
performances began to slip last year.

EMMA SNOWSILL: In my mind I knew I just knew that I wasn't 100 per cent, but I couldn't put my
finger on it.

PAUL LOCKYER: Test revealed that she was suffering from exercise induced asthma.

EMMA SNOWSILL: Far more surprising and far more probably extreme because of how long it had gone on
undiagnosed. Obviously, you know, when you are pushing yourself in sport you look at every other
factor, you know, you always do feel short of breath, you are meant to.

PAUL LOCKYER: Since Snowsill was prescribed approved medication to keep the asthma in check, her
career has rebounded.

CRAIG WALTON: Everything is under control. Emma has just lifted to a whole new level from what she
was last year.

PAUL LOCKYER: And it gives Emma Snowsill even greater confidence as she prepares for Beijing.

EMMA SNOWSILL: I feel very confident now that I'm just back on a level playing field, you know, I
feel that, you know, everybody is going to have those same conditions, everyone's going to be
dealing with the heat, the humidity, the smog, the pollution. If I really sit and think hard about
a gold medal round my neck, yeah, I do get a bit of the shivers.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Emma Snowsill's moment of truth comes on Monday in Beijing. That report from Paul
Lockyer.