Student-pentathlete Charlie Brown determined to build on breakthrough season and seize his Paris 2024 Olympic opportunity
It’s four years earlier than he anticipated but University of Bath student Charlie Brown has put himself in the mix to make his modern pentathlon Olympic debut this summer and is determined to take the opportunity.
The 20-year-old made his first major senior international appearance for Pentathlon GB less than 12 months ago but went on to enjoy an excellent 2023, reaching the men’s individual finals at the European Games in Poland and the UIPM World Championships at home in Bath.
He also claimed team medals at both, gold and silver respectively, and wants to use those experiences as a springboard for the biggest season of his career where qualification for Paris 2024 – now just six months away – is the ultimate goal.
“It’s my lifetime dream to compete at an Olympics and I’m going to give it everything I can,” said Brown who joined the elite Pentathlon GB squad at the Team Bath Sports Training Village in September 2021, just a month after Joe Choong and Kate French won an Olympic golden double at the rescheduled Tokyo Games.
“Initially 2024 was not on the cards and seemed unrealistic because of the short time I had to improve and get the results I needed but last year was a breakthrough and now it’s become more of a reality.
“I’ve worked hard to get into this position – it’s not luck, I’ve earned this opportunity and now I just need to take it in my stride, keep my feet on the ground and see what I can do this year.”
There is still one Olympic men’s quota place to be earned by the GB squad for Paris, adding to that already secured by defending champion Choong, and there are nine available through the UIPM World Ranking list, which will be determined during the 2024 World Cup season.
Competition will be fierce, not just on the international stage but within the British ranks too as a host of fellow pentathletes also look to set the qualification standard.
“There are a maximum of two male athletes per nation who get to compete at the Olympics, so it’s not just about qualifying this season but also earning selection,” said Brown, who has deferred the final year of his Sports Management and Coaching degree to focus fully on his push for Paris.
“We are such a strong nation and there is huge competition within the squad but that creates a great team ethic as well. We are all working as hard as we can and pushing each other to the limit.
“The only thing I can do is prepare for the World Cups the best I can, execute what I plan to do and then what everyone else does is out of my control.
“I’m taking confidence from last year, particularly from reaching the final at the World Championships. I didn’t have a good fencing score in the ranking round but still managed to get through.
“I had a rollercoaster of emotions and results during the season but I learnt a lot, so hopefully this year I’ll be able to put all that learning into use and be consistent across the five disciplines. Consistency brings rewards.”
It’s been a long pre-season for Brown and his Pentathlon GB team-mates, including training camps in South Africa, Paris and Sicily, but competition is on the horizon with the Hungarian Indoor Open in Budapest from 8-12 February providing a first chance to put preparation into practice.
The season proper begins with World Cup 1 in Cairo, Egypt, from 5-10 March and further World Cups follow in Turkey, Hungary and Bulgaria before the World Cup Final in Ankara from 22-26 May. The final Olympic ranking list will then be published on 17th June.
“Since I was younger, before I even took up pentathlon, I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics,” said Brown, whose 21st birthday coincides with men’s final day at World Cup 1. “I’ve got Los Angeles 2028 to focus on too but I really want to get to Paris. Joe Choong went to the Olympics when he was 21, so it’s definitely doable.”
Top picture: Credit UIPM World Pentathlon / Nuno Gonçalves.