I can’t remember the last time I felt this good.

Physically and mentally, this is as fresh as I have felt in a long time.

Making the difficult choice of taking a year off seems like the perfect decision in hindsight.

I had a lot of people encourage me to push through 2017. That it was not common for Olympians to win a gold medal, only to stop competing shortly thereafter.

But I had too. I’m not sure whether I could have returned to pentathlon if I hadn’t.

Those four years leading into the Rio Olympic games were as intense as I could have planned: so much goes into simply qualifying for an Olympic games, let alone walking away with the elusive gold medal.

I needed that time to focus on myself outside of the sport and spend time with family.

Excitingly, I managed to do a lot.

Chloe Esposito exclusive insight 1

I married the love of my life and was able to reconnect with many of my friends by heading back home to Sydney.

Sydney is one of the best places in the world, and it really does feel like home every time I go back, despite having set up residency in Budapest, Hungary for the past three years.

Right now, I am actually in Budapest – it is honestly the best place for me.

In Sydney, I might have to drive 45 minutes for horse riding or an hour for fencing; at least in Hungary everything is nearby.

I am a part of a pentathlon club over here and everything is literally within a two minute walk from my family apartment, which makes life a lot simpler.

I say “family” apartment with plenty of pride as it is beyond amazing that I have my Dad, Mum and brother over here with me.

I mean seriously – how lucky am I to have four amazing family members sacrifice in the manner they do for me.

Of course, I can’t even forget my Sister; who manages our family business in Australia so that my parents are able to support me during my pentathlon training.

Unfortunately for me, my husband still lives in Australia. Like any couple living in separate cities (let alone separate countries), the long distance can be really tough on us but we are managing to work through it.

But my family support means everything to me. Which is exactly why I am so quick to correct people when they ask what it is like to achieve the highest individual honour in the sport; I am hell bent on explaining to them that my Olympic gold medal is a family achievement. There is nothing individual about my accomplishments.

Chloe Esposito exclusive insight -

It has been great that they have been able to share in my Olympic gold medal triumph.

Winning that medal hasn’t been exactly how I envisaged it however.

The first six months were absolutely crazy – when I won it, I had friends and family all sending me newspaper articles including stories on the front cover!

But it didn’t actually hit me until I arrived back in Australia on route from Rio de Janeiro, wearing that Olympic gold tightly against my chest.

As soon as I hopped off that chartered flight with the rest of the Australian team at Sydney International Airport, the scenes were incredible; the amount of media that was there, calling my name for interviews, was astonishing.

All I could think about, was “Why do they want me?”. No one ever cares about pentathlon!

From there, it only grew larger.

During those six months, not a day went past when I wasn’t being asked to attend a corporate speaking engagement or sponsorship event.

I was living on cloud nine, and it was all thanks to that little gold medal.

Then, as the days began to pass, the calls for appearances and requests for interviews became less frequent, until such time when the phone completely stopped ringing.

That was humbling. I couldn’t believe the drop off in public interest – I went into Rio with no committed sponsors, but even after winning a gold medal seeking new sponsorship was still a struggle.

It really did seem as though my Olympic gold medal had an expiry date.

It didn’t seem fair, but it was what it was. Thankfully the wheel appears to be turning more favourably for me now, with Davco (a national tile installation company) recently coming on board as a new personal sponsor.

While winning an Olympic gold medal and recapturing that feeling would be a dream, I really do look to treat every competition with the same approach.

Chloe Esposito exclusive insight 2

I opt to avoid putting any kind of real pressure on myself, as I know that if I do I’ll crumble on the day.

Thankfully, I have my coach and father, Daniel, who ensures I stay the course.

I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the results I have had in pentathlon if it hadn’t been for my father.

He knows which buttons to push and at the exact time.

Sure, like any coach, he can get really annoying sometimes (haha!) but all his advice and training pays off. And best of all, he never puts any pressure on me during competition.

In fact, he doesn’t really care too much about the results on the day.

His main focus is on making sure I train the house down and set elite standards throughout my competition prep.

Because if so, it means we can both relax on “game day” knowing that we have done all we possibly can to achieve the best possible result. So whatever happens on the day, happens.

It is the same mindset we both had two years prior to Rio, and exactly what we are looking to repeat at the halfway mark to Toyko 2020.