adam.collins
23 Juillet 2021
Australian canoe slalom paddler Jessica Fox isn’t sure if she will still be competing when the Olympic Games comes to Brisbane in 2032, but she knows its going to provide a giant boost for sport in her country.

Fox was only six when the Games came to Sydney in 2000. As the daughter of two Olympic paddlers she had more than a passing interest in the canoe slalom competition. What she remembers was how the rest of the Australian community also got excited.

“It’s just wonderful news for Australian sport, all the young kids,” Fox said.

“We all know what impact the Sydney Olympics had on Australian sport and on all the athletes of my generation, so I’m just thrilled to see the Games come back to Australia.”

The news came in the week when Jessica Fox will be part of canoe slalom Olympic history, when for the first time there will be an equal number of medal events for both men and women.

27-year-old Fox was one of the prime movers in the campaign to have women’s canoe added to the Olympic programme, and will start favourite next week.

Jess' bio and when she competes in Tokyo


Pre-race routine for Jess

She admits she’s been thinking for some time what she might do if Brisbane was awarded the 2032 Olympics. Paris in 2024 has always been part of her plan, and probably Los Angeles in 2028. Paddling for another ten years though?

“I’ll be getting close to 40, and I’m not sure I can hang on that long,” she said.

“But I would love to be part of the Games in any way, whether in the organising, or volunteering or coaching or media, I’ll put my hand up for anything.

I’ll be 38, which is a long way away. Stepanka (Hilgertova) competed at 44. I’m taking it Games by Games, and Brisbane is still a few Games away. We’ve still got Paris and then LA before that, but I’m focusing on Tokyo first.”

Jess' dad, Richard Fox, speaks about Olympic selection

That focus this week has been all about getting used to the Tokyo course. It’s undergone a few changes since most of the athletes were last in Japan, which seems to have gone over well during training sessions.

But what everyone is struggling with is the heat. Not the air temperature, but the heat of the water.

“We’re all overheating. It’s basically a big bathtub because of the hot weather, and the nights aren’t very cool so the water doesn’t have a chance to cool,” Fox said.

“The course itself is great, the features are awesome, they’ve done an amazing job of tweaking it since we came in 2019. All the athletes are really stoked about that.”

Fox will begin her campaign to become the first individual athlete to win two canoe slalom medals at a single Games with the women’s kayak heats on Sunday.

Check out Jess' favourite place to paddle in Australia, Brady's Lake Tasmania, in our #Paddle100 top places to paddle.

Results from Tokyo 2020

Canoe Slalom
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