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What is it really like to win Olympic Gold?

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Triathlon first burst on to the Olympic scene in 2000 at the incredibly successful Sydney Games. In the 12 years since then, the sport has already proved to be one of the most exciting of multi-disciplinary events, offering something for lovers of endurance racing, cycling and swimming.
One of the sports most popular characters is Australian Laureus Ambassador Emma Snowsill, the event’s Olympic champion following a gold medal winning performance at the Beijing Games four years ago in 2008.
For us glued to our screens, watching seemingly normal people do quite spectacular things, it can seem hard to imagine what it is like to win that elusive gold medal and edge ever closer to legendary status. So what is it really like to win a gold medal in the sport you love so much?
“It’s a feeling very hard to describe. I had always aspired to the Olympics as a young child. And starting [preparations] four years out during the Athens Olympics [2004] Beijing was my target.
“That one race [at Beijing Games] became my target and it becomes the culmination not of just two hours, but of the whole four years prior.”
And after all those years of training, hours of running, cycling, and swimming from early morning til late at night, does the feeling of achievement live up to expectation?
“The biggest thing is relief… a weight off my shoulders. But I have to be honest; it really took a long time for it to sink in. It’s probably only now, four years on, that it really has sunk in.”
Emma is commentating during these London Games, but despite not competing herself, she still has a very vested interest in triathlon results, particular the men’s race taking place today.
That’s because Emma is one half of what has been labelled triathlon’s ‘golden couple’ alongside reigning Olympic champion, Germany’s Jan Frodeno.
But what hope does she have for Jan successfully defending his title?
She says: “He’s had a tough year injury wise, but in the past six weeks he’s really come up and the body is well… I’m really looking forward to the race and I think he’s going to do really well.”
And do the triathlon couple, both gold medallists from the 2008 Games, ever share tips over breakfast in the morning?
“Well, we don’t do a whole lot of training together… we definitely feel like we both go to different offices…But we always provide each other with support because we know what the other is going through.”
But does the proudly Australian triathlete, who warmly remembers the unforgettable experience of watching the event at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, ever feel a conflict between her supporting her home team or Germany, the homeland of her partner Jan.
“Oh no,” she reveals, “I’ll have you know I’ve had my nails painted and one hand has the Australian flag and the other has the German flag. But I’m definitely going to be there supporting and cheering my loudest for him, as much as I’m Australian. I have a personal interest!”