The suggestion that she might have the day off is met with a headshake from Natalya Coyle. Between a morning run, a physio session and a 7pm training session, she has wedged in media duties – all done with a smile. Olympic Modern Pentathlon followers from all over the world can buy Olympic Modern Pentathlon tickets online.
“You can’t really afford to take any days off because they all add up in the long run,” says Coyle, speaking at the announcement of global job site Indeed as an official partner to the Irish Olympic team.
The 28-year-old competes in that most Olympic 2020 of sports: modern pentathlon. Like handball and dressage, it enters the public consciousness once every four years with Stephen Alkin or Adrian Eames providing commentary and Peter Collins on the couch in Montrose reminding us how it works.
Before she can hop on that plane to Tokyo Olympic, she will have to qualify. The European Championships take place in August with the top eight in that competition securing their spot in Japan. There are also World Cup events. She won silver in Cairo earlier this year.
“That’s all I think about at the moment: qualifying for the Games,” says the Meath native.
Other routes to the Olympics 2020 are available, like finishing in the top three at the World Championships or through the world rankings, but those would be circuitous compared to the Euros method.
For her first Olympic 2020 adventure in London, Coyle took the world rankings pathway – it was long and uncertain. Her road to Rio was also meandering. Certainty would make the next year far easier to plan. Training could be nailed down, as could the competitions she wants to enter.
Horse riding was Coyle’s first foray into the non-running and swimming elements that populate pentathlon. She subsequently progressed to pony club triathlon which involves all except fencing.
“It was about making friends and going on these cool trips, says Coyle. I wasn’t good when I first started. I didn’t even make the Meath first team. Eventually, I started to train more and I won nationals. Then I added fencing into the elements. It just snowballed. If you’d told me back at 17, ‘you’re still going to be doing these ten years later’, I would have been a bit like, ‘Really, I’m not very good at it’.”
Though fencing was the final discipline which she picked up last, it has become one of her strengths. That’s good considering its importance.
The sands of modern pentathlon are constantly shifting. At a congress once every four years a greater weight may be placed on one of the elements. Last year, running became more important and swimming less so. She now spends more time grinding out the miles and less in the pool.
If she does qualify for her third Olympic, there will be a different feeling this time around. She will go as one of Ireland’s main medal hopes in Olympic 2020. That was not the case in other years. Learning’s from those previous experiences will aid that dream.
Success at an Olympics 2020 cannot simply be quantified as winning a medal. It needs a broader definition, one which can allow a competitor to hit peak performance – be the best that they can be – and find satisfaction in that place At London and Rio, Coyle set personal bests. If she does so again in Tokyo Olympic Games, a medal may follow.
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