Meet Modern Pentathlete Chloe Esposito
By Alana Leabeater
Most Australians would have heard of duathlons and triathlons, but how many Australians would know what a pentathlon entails?
Chloe Esposito, Australia’s only female pentathlon representative for the impending Olympics, hopes this will change after Rio.
And given her current ranking as the top Oceania athlete leading into the Games, it’s likely we will be hearing a lot more about Chloe and modern pentathlon in the coming weeks.
But for Chloe, the fact she is competing in her second Olympic games in a matter of days doesn’t faze her.
“I try and treat every competition the same, whether it’s just a local competition or the Olympic Games. They all have equal importance.”
“I have tasks for each event… and if I complete those tasks, I think that’s a gold medal in itself for me.”
It’s a simple approach to sports psychology, and one which has been proven to work time and time again for Chloe, who finished in seventh place in the 2012 Olympics.
Pentathlon has been a main focus for Chloe from a young age, though it has not been without sacrifice.
First on the chopping block was her eight-year dancing career.
“But it wasn’t really going anywhere,” Chloe says. “So I stuck with pentathlon.”
As a teenager, it was invitations to go out with her friends that had to be turned down.
“Sometimes it was hard, because I wanted to go out but I had training”.
“But now I’m the complete opposite… if I get any chance to stay home I will, because I’m just so tired from training, and I love sleeping and relaxing.”
It’s understandable that Chloe is tired, with a packed training schedule that needs to ensure enough time is spent on each of the five disciplines in pentathlon: fencing, swimming, horse riding, shooting and running.
A typical day for Chloe starts at 5am at the pool, followed by horse riding after breakfast.
“In the afternoon, I’ll have a 12-13 kilometre run, then fencing training where we fence other opponents for about two hours, followed by a fencing lesson.”
It’s a full time job, with most days finishing at 7pm. But for Chloe, everyday is a dress rehearsal for her big competitions.
“As my dad (Daniel Esposito) always says, if you don’t do it in training, you won’t do it in competition. So I always give it my all in training.”
They are wise words, coming from a former Olympic pentathlete himself having competed at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
But surprisingly, her father’s success in the sport is not the main reason Chloe got into pentathlon to start with.
“I have been swimming since a young age… and I’ve always been running.”
“But I really wanted to do horse riding because of The Saddle Club, I was obsessed with that show!”
Chloe was 14 when she picked up the other two sports – fencing and shooting – and together with her brother Max, who is also competing in this year’s Games, has been training ever since.
In the lead up to the Rio Olympics though, the family decided to move to Hungary where the siblings could really focus on the sport, which doesn’t have a significant following in Australia.
“Pentathlon is so strong in Europe,” says Chloe. “That’s one of the reasons we moved [to Hungary], and because it’s closer to competitions.”
It is that strong European field that Chloe will face on August 18, with Lithuanian athlete Laura Asadauskaite – the 2012 Olympic gold medallist – returning to the Olympics this year to defend her title.
But Chloe’s down-to-earth nature means she takes it all in her stride.
“Yes, it’s a very strong field, but when I’m competing I don’t think about anyone else.”
“At the end of the day, it’s all about me and what I’m doing. I can’t control what anyone else is doing around me so there’s no point in worrying about them.”
“I just focus on myself and do the best that I can do.”
Though she may be treating it as just another competition, the difference for this competition is that she will be representing Australia on the world stage.
And Chloe is definitely excited about one thing: the uniforms.
“We just got our swimming kit the other day and it’s so cool.”
“That’s probably one of my favourite parts, getting all the uniforms!”