YOG a family affair for Esposito clan
After attending the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 as a Young Change-Maker, Rio 2016 modern pentathlon gold medallist Chloe Esposito talks to Olympic.org about her family’s strong ties to the YOG
Q. What was it like being a Young Change-Maker at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018?
A. It was such a surprise to be asked. When [the Australian team] called me up and told me I was quite shocked. But it was something pretty special. I loved watching all the Australian athletes, meeting everyone, hanging out and just sitting in a grandstand for once. It was a totally different experience for me, watching all the athletes instead of competing, and now I realise how my parents must feel when they watch me! I think I was more nervous watching all the athletes compete than when I’m competing myself! It was so nerve-wracking, but I loved it. Being able to share my story with them and also hear all their stories as well and listen to what they want to achieve. It was something pretty special.
Q. Your sister, Emily, competed at the YOG Singapore 2010 and your brother, Max, competed at Nanjing 2014. Did they tell you what to expect?
A. Yeah, and I actually watched my sister in Singapore, so I sort of knew what to expect, but the YOG has obviously evolved each time from then. I also spoke to [Olympic canoe-slalom medallist] Jess Fox, who was a Young Change-Maker in Nanjing, and asked her what it was like, so I had some help from her too, which was great. I think going to the YOG definitely helped my sister and my brother a lot with what they wanted to achieve in their sport; Emily went on to the Commonwealth Games and Max went to the Olympic Games, and I’m sure it will help all the athletes who competed in Buenos Aires as well.
Q. As a two-time Olympian and an Olympic champion, what was your overall impression of the YOG?
A. I thought it was really similar to the Olympic Games; with the Village, the venues and everything else. I noticed some of the venues were a bit smaller, but the Village reminded me of life in the Olympic Village, with the dining hall and lots of things going on. That was really cool actually; seeing how similar it was.
Q. Were there any particular highlights for you, from your time at the YOG?
A: I loved watching the hockey. I'd never watched a hockey game before and it was so fast, and so intense. They hit that ball so hard and I always thought they were going to get whacked in the face! There were so many other nice moments as well. I got to meet Tony Hawk, so that was incredible, and I loved watching other sports, like weightlifting; that was cool. Just seeing the emotion on their faces and the intensity. I loved it all.
Q. What advice were you giving to the young athletes?
A. I told them the same thing I tell myself; that they've done the hard work up until now, and today's the day that it all comes together. Training is the hard part, competition is the easy part; they’ve done it a thousand times before, they just need to go out there and show themselves what they can do today.
Q. You mentioned that your brother and sister were able to use their YOG experiences to progress to the senior level; do you think that is one of the big benefits of competing at the YOG?
A. Oh, definitely. I think it helps get young athletes in that competition zone, but also in that mentality that they're representing their country. Everyone always says you should treat every competition the same, but you’ve also got to put yourself at that higher standard; you're not just running around your school rugby field, you're there representing your country. So, I think that also puts them in that focus as well and prepares them for the future.
Q. Do you think you would have benefited from having been to a YOG before competing at the Olympic Games?
A. Oh definitely, I think so. I think it would have prepared me a bit more for London 2012 and maybe I wouldn't have been quite as nervous. I know I would have still been nervous, but I think it would have prepared me a lot better. And I would have known more about what to expect; it would've been good.
Q. As well as your family’s links to the YOG, you, your brother Max and your father Daniel are all Olympians as well. What is it like having such strong ties to the Olympic Games within your family?
A. Yeah, it’s nice. I love that we are a sporting family, and we can all help each other in that sense and tell each other our experiences and what to expect. My mum tries to play it down, but I know she’s proud of us – and of my dad being an Olympian too; that was something he wanted to do his whole life and he trained so hard for it. He didn't get to achieve what he wanted to because of injury, so I think seeing Max and I competing at the Olympic Games and doing so well is just such a special gift for him too. It's hard to explain and it's weird now even just thinking that pretty much my whole family are Olympians. It's a bit odd, but I think it just brings us together and it's incredible actually.