• Emma Moffatt at the ITU World Triathlon Series in April 2016 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medalist, Emma Moffatt, qualifies for the Australian Olympic team for the third time – a feat no other Australian triathlete has achieved.
Stef Hanson

19 Apr 2016 - 4:55 PM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2016 - 5:00 PM

Just moments after crossing the line in seventh place at the Gold Coast World Triathlon Series race earlier this month, the excitement for the two-time Olympian sunk in.  

“I’m pretty happy with that!” Moffatt said. “I really wanted to secure that automatic spot, so now I can plan my road to Rio.”

Triathlon Australia’s automatic selection policy had the Australians battling it out for positions in the top 10 at the August 2015 Rio test event. But they fell short, the highest ranked, Gillian Backhouse, crossing the line in 13th place.

Selectors then looked to this month's ITU World Triathlon Series Gold Coast race. The first placed Australian in the top 10 would secure their spot on the team, with the remaining two spots coming down to discretionary selections.

So the heat was on, literally and figuratively, for the Australians on their home turf. 

“It was really hot out there. When I was running I was thinking, geez I train in this all the time, but then I realised that I train at 5am, not in the middle of the day.” Moffatt said.

“I really had to pace myself on the run just to get across the line. I didn’t want to blow up and stumble across the finish and end up 11th. I will have to change that preparation leading into Rio.”

Moffatt’s experience at the Olympic Games has been a mixed bag. In 2008 she ran her way onto the podium in third place, with fellow Aussie, Emma Snowsill claiming gold. At the 2012 London Olympics she ended her day early after slamming into the asphalt on the bike.

“Every Olympics I’ve felt that I’ve gone in really well prepared,” she said.

“In London I was really excited to see how I was going, but unfortunately I crashed, and Beijing I had no idea I was going to get a bronze medal! I was just there because I was told to go to the Olympics.”

“So I think I’ll take a little bit from each of those experiences and come up with a formula that works. I feel like I’m on the right track and things are improving in each leg. I’ve got an amazing team around me who support me and get me through. They constantly push and challenge me. I think that’s all I can do, as well as enjoy it of course.”

The other two Australians will be selected after the Yokohama World Triathlon Series race on 14 May 2016.

The women’s triathlon event at the Rio Olympics will take place 18 August 2016.