Emma Snowsill’s Olympic gold in Beijing last year put to rest what was looming as something of a hoodoo for Aussie triathletes: until last year we couldn’t clinch a big one.

I measure my work more in hours than kilometres. I measure my work more in hours than kilometre. Images: Delly Carr / Sportshoot

It says a lot about Snowsill’s class as an athlete that she was able to do what Michellie Jones and Loretta Harrop couldn’t at previous Games – win gold when you face the pressure of being favourite.With the ITU World Championships coming to the Gold Coast this month (Sept 9-13), it’s another opportunity for 28-year-old Snowsill to show the world what she’s made of – which, at 161cm and 49kg, isn’t actually a lot. But a lot of that is heart – and a lot of it is brains. Snowsill shares her intelligent approach to her preparation for the Worlds, which has been disrupted by an injury that brought her home for surgery. But she still aims to wow the local crowds, who will turn out in their thousands to cheer their local hero.

Injury time

“I went away with a bit of a minor injury earlier this year and it flared up. It’s sometimes a bit difficult getting things diagnosed on the other side of the world, so I had to come home mid-July to see specialists and get more scans. It’s been a strange one – a soreness in my hip that was really painful when I’d been running hard or racing. When I rested it for a few weeks it felt a little bit better, but it was still there. I didn’t know if I was I going to do more damage; we didn’t know what was causing the pain. And like everybody, I want answers yesterday. I want a good shot at racing here at the Worlds on the Gold Coast. But they think they found the problem, and I had keyhole surgery to correct some damage to my labrium cartilage in my hip. It seems to have gone well.

“My last really bad injury was back in 2004. Since then they’ve been manageable; this is the first time in five years I can’t race. You’re always training or racing with some kind of niggle; every day there’s some sort of pain or something’s aching or hurting, but I wouldn’t call them injuries as such – I’d just call them fatigue from the general workload we do. You have to make sure you’re getting massage and treatment so that they don’t turn into injuries that stop you racing. That’s a fine line, obviously.”