June 15 (Reuters) - Chloe Abbott is chasing fame in the recording studio but her immediate aim is running for a gold medal at next month’s Tokyo Olympics before she looks to claim a gold record.
The former theatre major, with acting ambitions and a burgeoning musical career, has high hopes of competing in the 400-metre sprint for Team USA at the Tokyo Games.
Just days before her 23rd birthday, the NCAA National runner-up will take her first step toward that goal, following in the path of her idol, six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix, at the team trials in Eugene, Oregon.
“The Olympic Trials and the Olympics takes a lot of time, effort and energy. And so I’ve learned right now that I’ve got to focus on the track aspect and not so much the music right now,” said Abbott, who has a personal best of 50.98 in the 400m.
Abbott, who finished fifth at last month’s track meet in Irvine, California, faces tough odds, with the United States boasting some of the best athletes in the world in the event.
But years of experience and a confidence fuelled through old fashioned sibling rivalry has her ready to take on the elite.
“All of my greatness and confidence came from beating my sister, Alexa,” she told Reuters with a chuckle, recalling how she defeated her elder sister when she was just a sophomore in high school.
“And then of course, you know, my coaches would tell me ‘you run so fast’ and so I just believed in what they told me and I just kind of went with it and I had the confidence on the track.”
Abbott, who earned All-American honours for excellence in amateur athletics four times, has already signed with her first major sponsor, Swiss sportswear company On.
She cites musical influences including Sam Smith and Etta James in her vocal career, which will be waiting for her - whether Tokyo is in the cards or not.
“After these next five, six months I’m going to get back into it,” she said. “I always make time for voice lessons, I always make time for acting lessons, I always make time to study my craft.” (Reporting by Michael Blake, writing by Amy Tennery Editing by Christian Radnedge)