While much of the focus has been on the athletes aiming to qualify for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics, many others have been competing in the UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup with different goals.
For Claire Green of the USA, the ambition of taking part in the global Modern Pentathlon circuit for the first time has already been realized, and she appears to be loving every minute of it.
Speaking after her third Pentathlon World Cup appearance in Sofia (BUL), the 24-year-old described the steep learning curve she has experienced since agreeing to an offer from USA Pentathlon High Performance Director Genadijus Sokolovas to pivot from her track-and-field career.
Green (USA) also talked about her sporting origins, her vocation outside of sport and the highly favorable impression her fellow international pentathletes have made on her since she joined the circuit.
Q: How did you get involved in Modern Pentathlon and what other sports have you done?
A: About three or four years ago I was still in college and I was running track and field. One day out of the blue I got an email from Dr G [Sokolovas] who was with US Modern Pentathlon and wanted me to come to a training camp.
In March 2020 when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed, Dr G reached out and said there might be an opportunity to train, partly for Tokyo but really for Paris 2024. I was still running at that time but he kept calling and said I should give it a shot and I finally said yes, and I moved back to Colorado and started training about a month later.
I swam for about 15 years but I was a very mediocre swimmer and track was my main sport.
Q: What are your impressions of Modern Pentathlon so far?
A: The thing I have come to love most is the respect the athletes have for each other.
The high level of talent you see in every event is something you’re never going to see anywhere else, and it’s very exciting because every time you compete, it doesn’t matter if it’s the reigning Olympic champion next to you, someone might come out of the blue and take that competition and I love that.
Q: Are you studying alongside your training?
A: I already graduated and right now I’m a freelance journalist, so I’ve done a lot of writing. This year I started writing more to give myself time to train, especially for Fencing because that’s not something that comes naturally to me and it’s been difficult.
It’s been a challenge to learn to train for five sports simultaneously. It takes more time and it takes more mental discipline, because if you have a bad session in the morning you have to pull yourself together and get back out there for the next session. It’s also about learning to manage your recovery, and it’s difficult but I like it.
Q: How many hours do you train?
A: I’m probably training 40 hours a week right now, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I started late and I really wanted to make the World Cup cycle – I over-trained for a couple of months.
Q: What is your favorite discipline?
A: Ironically, I think my favorite discipline is the ride – I’m not very good at it yet but I’ve never been around horses until now and I love them. Also the longer I fence, the more I enjoy fencing.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Modern Pentathlon?
A: Getting to compete with so many athletes from different countries is an experience I haven’t had before, and I like that I am starting to get to know my competitors.
You see the same faces all the time but you see them all around the world, and that’s not an experience you’re going to get from any other sport.