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Meopham’s Tokyo 2020 pentathlon gold medallist Kate French admits lure of another Olympic Games was too strong to ignore

The thought of having to watch the Olympic Games from her sofa was enough to inspire Kate French to end her 18-month hiatus and defend her modern pentathlon crown.

Meopham’s French stepped away from the sport after her success at Tokyo 2020, where she became Team GB’s first female modern pentathlon gold medallist since Stephanie Cook at Sydney 2000.

Meopham's Kate French won gold in the pentathlon at Tokyo three years ago. Picture: UPIM Media
Meopham's Kate French won gold in the pentathlon at Tokyo three years ago. Picture: UPIM Media

The 33-year-old competed just twice in 2022 and took a further break from the sport last year, putting her Paris participation in doubt.

But the fear of missing out proved too strong and the aptly-named French will be part of the four-strong modern pentathlon squad heading across the Channel.

“I was not going to be happy with being sat at home watching,” she said. “I wanted to give it a try at least to be there, so I’m really glad.

“I think the Games is such a unique experience and I just wasn't ready to let that go. To be able to be part of Team GB again, I didn't think it was an opportunity I should turn down.

“My thinking was ‘at least give it a go’.”

Having seemingly bid farewell to her uniquely testing sport while on top of the world, French pondered her future beyond modern pentathlon.

But as her desire for elite competition returned, she couldn’t help but throw in the towel on her out-of-sport plans.

She added: “To be honest, I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do - whether I wanted to carry on and what I wanted to do post-sport.

“I felt like I just needed time to figure that out. When I was on my break, I realised I didn't want to miss the opportunity of potentially being able to go to another Games.”

French will be supported by Aldi’s Nearest & Dearest programme in Paris. The initiative helps maximise support and minimise potential distractions for athletes so that they can focus on their performance and make the most of the unique opportunity to compete on one of the world’s largest stages.

With a successful title retention her top priority, she is ready to take every day as it comes to ensure she tops the podium come August 11.

French said: “If I wasn't there, I wouldn't be able to try and defend my title.

“I'm going to do everything I can to try and win the gold again, but I feel [the] pentathlon is unique in the sense that anything can happen on the day.

Aldi are proud Official Partners of Team GB & ParalympicsGB, supporting all athletes through to Paris 2024.

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