Chloe Abbott still aiming for 2024 Olympics but did not pass up second chance to be on ‘The Voice’

Published 3:12 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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During her collegiate career, Chloe Abbott was the 2019 NCAA runner-up in the 400-meter dash and a six-time first-team All-American at Purdue and Kentucky. She’s now a professional athlete for On Running who is aiming to make the 2024 U.S. Olympic team.

But Abbott is also an actress, model and singer, and she’s competing now on NBC-TV’s “The Voice” and is hoping for plenty of support from Big Blue Nation if she advances in the show. Her audition likely will air on March 13.

“Right now, the shows are prerecorded, but in May, the shows will be live,” she said. “If I make it that far, Kentucky fans can vote and rally behind me and show their love for me.

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“Having Big Blue just supporting me the whole way has always been huge. So many people during my collegiate career encouraged me. I was able to sing the national anthem in college and those performances helped me for ‘The Voice.’ The opportunity Kentucky gave me to sing and use my passion despite my busy schedule was really special.”

She is now coached by the legendary Bobby Kersee and says he encourages her to sing just like On Running does and UK coach Lonnie Greene did.

“Bobby and On continue to tell me that they want to see me sing and even sing at meets. Kentucky always supported me like that and now my sponsor and coach are my biggest supporters and that really helps,” she said.

Abbott said it was a “tough secret” to keep for almost six months that she would be on the NBC-TV reality competition. Her family, coach and sponsor knew she was participating in the competition and attending auditions, but no one else did.

“I had to keep it under wraps,” Abbott, who now lives in Los Angeles, said. “It sucked. I would see people doing fun things and could not wait to share how I was grinding with my singing and practicing track. It was super tough not sharing that information. I would have to leave for auditions and could not tell anyone what I was doing.”

Abbott, a theater major at UK with a minor in vocal performance, has wanted to perform on Broadway in New York and that dream has not gone away.

“Since I have been on ‘The Voice’ it has sparked a fire in me to get back to work on that dream. I love to do track but that is my job. I am finding time off the track to send things out I have done as an artist. I have to open that door for myself. I have done the track thing for so long. Broadway is in the cards for me. I am starting the process now to see if acting is something that will work out.”

However, she’s not lost focus on making the 2024 U.S. Olympic team or the training it will take to make it. Her ultimate goal remains to break 49 seconds in the 400 dash. She thinks “overlapping” World Championship and Olympic years will help her.

“I have a great coach, a great training group, a great sponsor. There’s no reason for me not to give it a full shot to make my dream come true,” she said.

Eleven-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix’s husband, Kenneth Ferguson, is from the Detroit area like Abbott. After her rookie professional season, she told him that she was “struggling” and might need to change coaches.

“It was nothing against coach Greene at UK. We parted on great terms,” Abbott said. “Allyson’s husband asked me if I needed help finding a coach. I balled out crying telling him I need help and I would work with Bobby or anybody that would take me. The next day Kenneth called me and asked if I was serious about track and if I was then call Bobby in the next 30 minutes.”

Kersee has trained numerous Olympic and world champions, including former UK standout Sydney McLaughlin.

“Talking to Bobby was extremely intimidating. He said he would be back in touch and we talked the next day, kept talking and finally met up in Florida (where she was living). There was really no reason for him to take me on. I had been second at nationals, but I didn’t have world records or Olympic medals. But he took me,” Abbott said. “It was just divine intervention.”