Olympics Summer

Women's Triathlon

Who to look for in the women's triathlon

Name  Emma Snowsill 
Country  Australia 
Credentials  Three gold (2003, 2005, 2006) and one silver (2007) at world championships; No. 5 in World Cup rankings 

Name  Vanessa Fernandes 
Country  Portugal 
Credentials  One gold (2007), one silver (2006) and one bronze (2003) at world championships; No. 9 in World Cup rankings 

Name  Laura Bennett 
Country  U.S. 
Credentials  One silver (2003) and three bronze (2004, 2005, 2007) at world championships; No. 24 in World Cup rankings 

ON A ROLL

Fernandes broke Snowsill's grip on the world title last year, beating both the Australian and Bennett. CBC analyst Barrie Shepley describes Fernandes as "a machine."

ON A SLIDE

Italian Nadia Cortassa placed fifth at the 2004 Athens Games and at the 2006 world championships but hasn't done much since then. That being said, she is a strong runner so she could be a factor in Beijing.

UNDER THE RADAR

Six years after she started competing at the elite level, Sam Warriner of New Zealand has reached the upper echelons of her sport. She won a bronze medal at this year's world championships in Vancouver. A schoolteacher who has taken a leave to compete in Beijing, she could sneak onto the medal podium.

Also, Nicola Spirig has always been a weak swimmer, and missed this year's world championships because she was injured. But she has been training hard and won an event in Austria in late July. "She is headed in the right direction at the perfect moment," says Shepley.

CANADIANS

Carolyn Murray and Kathy Tremblay will join Lauren Groves in Beijing. Groves qualified for the Games based on race results while Triathlon Canada named the other women. There is no clear-cut medal contender among the women, and Shepley says they would be lucky to notch one top-eight finish among them. Tremblay is ranked 25th on the World Cup circuit and Murray is 30th. She won her first World Cup race this season. Groves, who has struggled with knee problems, is ranked 55th. Kirsten Sweetland, the best hope for a medal on the women's side, was left off the team because she is recovering from a foot injury.

LOWDOWN

Shepley predicts three Americans, including Bennett, will be first out of the water along with Snowsill, Fernandes and some others. In the cycling segment, one pack of riders will bolt into the lead. A chase pack including Tremblay, Warriner and some others will catch up or be caught from behind by the other two Canadians and Spirig. That battle will determine who has the edge heading into the running segment. Odds are, Snowsill and Fernandes will run away with the gold and silver leaving six to eight women to battle for bronze. Shepley predicts third place will go to Bennett, Warriner or Australia's Emma Moffat.

now