Olympic hopeful Anna Jarvis couldn't wipe the smile off her face when she met Rio Gold Medallist and Modern Pentathlete Chloe Esposito last week at New England Girls' School in Armidale.
Anna, in Year 8 at NEGS, is an up and coming Eventer at the school and one day dreams of being an Olympian like Ms Esposito.
"To have Chloe come and talk to us about all her trials and difficulties before achieving her ultimate ambition of winning gold at an Olympics was just amazing," Anna said.
"To hear about her injuries, the amount of time she has put in to training, her diet and her role models really was so inspirational and gave us all hope that any of us can achieve big things if we put the work in."
Ms Esposito said NEGS would be the perfect training school for modern pentathletes as it had a pool, running, track, shooting and horse riding all available on its campus. The only thing missing, Chloe said, was fencing which can be done in town.
"This really is the perfect school for my sport," she said. "I wished I had the opportunity to go to a school like this when I was younger and have access to all these training facilities and sporting options."
Ms Esposito enthralled the NEGS students about with stories of the lead up to achieving her gold medal, including falling off a horse at an event and tearing her achilles at the end of 2015, right in the middle of her pre-Olympic training.
"As I ran out the shooting range at Rio, I remember hearing the commentator saying the other competitors were still on the range and I remember thinking Oh my God, Oh my God they aren't going to catch me. The words of my mum saying 'just don't trip, just don't trip' were running through my head. It was a real pinch me moment when I crossed the line to become the first Australian to get on the podium for modern pentathlon and for it to be a Gold medal was just a dream come true."
Ms Esposito told students she didn't have a lot of natural talent - having never won a running or swimming carnival in her life at school - but always had a very hard work ethic training up to 40 hours a week. She also said she had a strong family network of support behind her from the time she was 10 and decided she was going to the Olympics.
"If you work hard - harder than anyone else - then you can do whatever you set your mind to," Ms Esposito said.
"But you have to believe in yourself and that you can do it. I always truly believed I could win gold even with the setbacks that I had to deal with along the way."
Ms Esposito is enjoying her new role as an Olympic role model, but said she will be back in training early 2017 as she is planning on competing at the 2020 London Olympics.
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