Paris Olympics 2024 (Team GB): Meet Pentathlete Joseph Choong

The 28-year-old British modern pentathlete Joseph Choong is qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris after winning the gold medal in the event at the 2020 Summer Olympics, as well as the world title in 2022 and 2023.

Joseph Choong Qualified Again In the 2024 Paris Olympics

When Joe Choong came back to the UK after winning the gold medal for Modern Pentathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he was shocked by all the attention.

“No one tells you what it will be like when you come home as a champion!” he posted online in August 2021. He was talking about what happened right after his big Olympic win.

At the European Games, taking place in Krakow, Poland in June, Choong just fell short of adding the continental title to his Olympic and world golds but secured a quota spot for Great Britain for the men’s event at Paris 2024, courtesy of his second-place finish.

His silver medal secured the Team GB that will be represented in the Modern Pentathlon competition at the next Summer Olympics in Paris. Though Choong was unable to reach the top step of the podium, his podium finish confirmed Britain’s qualification for the Paris Games, providing an opportunity to defend his Olympic title from Tokyo 2020. With his girlfriend Olivia Green winning bronze, also securing a quota spot for Paris in the women’s event for Great Britain, it was a happy day all around for the athletic couple.

Joe Choong’s Early Life

Joseph Choong was born on May 23, 1995, in Orpington, South East London. He went to the private schools New Beacon and Whitgift School. He is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 172 pounds.

His dad, Michael Choong, was born in Seremban, Malaysia. He moved to London in the 1990s after studying at St. Paul’s Institution. In London, Michael became a doctor with the National Health Service. He married Joe’s mom, Beverly, also a doctor originally from Malaysia. Michael enjoyed swimming, while Beverly played netball. They encouraged Joe and his younger brother Henry (born April 25, 1997) to live active lifestyles. Henry competed in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics.

Joseph Choong Childhodd
Image: Joe Choong’s early years (Source: Bickley Park School)

Joe studied math at the University of Bath. He now trains at the Pentathlon GB High-Performance Centre. But as a young kid, Joe went to Bickley Park Nursery School. He was good at sports like swimming and running, but rugby was his favorite. Joe’s nursery coach was Mr. Petrozzi. We saw a great photo of a young Joe with Petrozzi.

Later, Joe attended Whitgift School. There he first discovered the Modern Pentathlon, which combines shooting, swimming, fencing, running, and horseback riding. In his first competition, a biathlon (running plus shooting) he finished near last place. But that’s when Joe realized he wanted to become an Olympic champion.

Joseph Choong is dating girlfriend Olivia Green

Joseph Choong has been dating his girlfriend Olivia Green. She was born on November 22, 1999, and lives in Oldham, United Kingdom.

Joseph Choong Girlfriend Olivia Green
Image: Joseph Choong with his girlfriend Olivia (Source: Olivia’s Instagram)

Olivia studied at the University of Bath, just like Joe. She previously went to Oldham Hulme Grammar School. Olivia used to compete for Britain as a modern pentathlete.

Joseph Choong’s Career

Early Career

Joe first broke out as a young pentathlon star in 2010. That year, he became the first British athlete ever to win the European championship for athletes under age 16. He won the individual gold medal and helped Britain take the bronze in the relay event.

Over the next few years, Choong continued improving. He won the British Junior title in 2013 and defended it in 2014. His score of 1,484 points beat teammates Joe Evans (1,468) and Tom Toolis (1,446). The three won the team title together.

Also Read: Paris Olympics 2024 (Team GB): Meet Pentathlete Olivia Green

At the 2014 Senior World Championships in Poland, 16-year-old Choong gained valuable experience finishing 16th overall. The next year he placed 7th at the European Championships, qualifying him for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Leading up to Rio, Choong had some strong results. He placed 13th at the test event in Rio, then set a new personal best by placing 4th at a World Cup event in Rome.

At the 2016 Olympics, Choong was in 2nd place going into the final combined running and shooting event. But he struggled in that event and ended up finishing in 10th place in his Olympic debut.

Though missing out on an Olympic medal was disappointing, overall Joe gained critical experience on pentathlon’s biggest stage at a young age. He continued working hard to develop his skills even further.

Professional Career

In 2018, Choong won his first individual medal, a bronze at the European Championships. That year he also claimed a team silver medal alongside Jamie Cooke and Myles Pillage at the World Championships in Mexico City.

Joe continued improving in 2019. He won a silver medal in the Sofia World Cup, then a gold alongside Cooke and Tom Toolis for Britain at the European Championships. The next month, Choong again took World Championship silver at the event in Hungary.

Just two years later, Choong achieved his greatest victory. At the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, he won the gold medal, the first-ever Olympic pentathlon title for a British man. His victory completed a British double gold, following Kate French’s win on the women’s side.

In recognition of his historic Olympic achievement, Choong was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in early 2022.

Choong has continued Britain’s Modern Pentathlon dominance. At the 2023 European Games, he took gold with Charles Brown and Myles Pillage to qualify the team for Paris 2024. Joe also added an individual silver medal. Shortly after, he defended his world title from 2022 at the World Championships held in front of a home crowd in Bath, England.