Olympics Summer

Snowsill wins Australia's 1st triathlon gold

Emma Snowsill of Australia blew away the field in the women's triathlon on Monday in Beijing, capturing her country's first Olympic gold in the event.

Emma Snowsill of Australia ran away from the field in the women's triathlon on Monday in Beijing, capturing her country's first Olympic gold in the event.

Snowsill, a three-time world champion, pulled away from the pack early in the closing running stage and broke the tape in one hour, 58 minutes 27 seconds for her first Olympic medal.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," said Snowsill. "I knew I had to get out on that run, coming down on the last lap I had to throw in whatever I had left. There is nothing like running scared. I had to make sure I didn't leave anything out on that field. I put every ounce of energy into this."

Co-favourite Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal finished 1:06 behind to take the silver, while Australia's Emma Moffatt was 1:28 back to claim the bronze.

Edmonton's Carolyn Murray was the top Canadian, finishing 29th, 6:28 behind Snowsill.

Montreal's Kathy Tremblay wound up 31st after fading badly on the final leg of the race, while Vancouver's Lauren Groves failed to finish after crashing during the cycling stage.

4th after leaving the water

Tremblay began the day looking like a contender, producing an excellent 1.5-kilometre swim to emerge from the water in fourth place, all but even with Snowsill.

The Montrealer hung with the cluster of 20 pacesetters in the 40-km cycling stage, while Groves followed in the first chase pack and Murray fell to the second chase group.

Disaster struck for Groves on the bell lap when she went down in a pileup of bikes and suffered a broken left arm, ending her day.

"Someone in front of me went down and it was just a chain reaction," a shaken Groves said later. "I try to stay out of trouble and get near the front so that if something like this happens [I'm OK], but I was in an unfortunate position. The hardest thing is not finishing because I thought I could have gone up the hill one more time."

Doctors say her arm will take six weeks to heal.

Starting to fade

Tremblay began fading after the athletes ditched their bikes for the 10-km run, as Snowsill wasted no time opening up a large gap on her pursuers.

By the halfway point of the final leg, Snowsill led Fernandes by a whopping 39 seconds. She accepted an Aussie flag from some fans along the final straightaway, and waved to the crowd as she meandered to the finish line.

The men's triathlon goes Tuesday in Beijing (Monday, 10 p.m. ET), with Canadians Simon Whitfield, Paul Tichelaar and Colin Jenkins among those trying to chase down favourite Javier Gomez of Spain.