On the final weekend of the 2023 ICF slalom season Australia’s Jessica Fox climbed the victory podium six times.

Once again the three-time Olympian was the star performer in a season jam-packed with world class performances by athletes preparing for another Olympic tilt. In Paris next year she will be aiming to become the first slalom athlete to win three gold medals, or three medals of any colour, at a single Olympics.

2023 saw five ICF world cups, a junior and U23 and senior world championships, as well as several continental titles. As we head into a Northern Hemisphere winter, most of the Paris 2024 quotas have already been allocated. Some athletes are already brushing up on their French.

In 2023 twenty different athletes from nine different countries won world cup gold medals, in a season that saw us begin in Augsburg, finish in Paris, and in between took us to Prague, Tacen and La Seu. Two of the venues have already hosted the Olympics, and Paris will join the club in less than 12 months.

Our world championships took us back to Lee Valley in England, the cutting-edge venue built for the 2012 London Olympics and now serving as a beacon for new slalom venues built around the world. It was a classic world titles, with big crowds celebrating hometown gold medals and Olympic quotas.


The crowds were out in force again two weeks later for the world cup final in Paris. As a dress rehearsal for next year’s Games, it was an outstanding success. The venue received almost universal thumbs up from the athletes and officials.

It helps of course when there are hometown victories. 20-year-old Titouan Castryck brought the crowd out of their seats when he shimmied down the K1 finals course to snatch his first senior gold medal, and then 24 hours later Boris Neveu had the French fans in raptures again when he buffeted his way to the men’s kayak cross title.

The Paris slalom venue backs onto the canoe sprint venue, giving French paddling fans a guaranteed fortnight of top-level action at the same location at next year’s Olympics.

One year out from the Games, and nearly all the previous or reigning Olympic champions are in very good form. In the men’s canoe, Slovenia’s Benjamin Savsek, the Tokyo gold medalist, found himself back on top of the world championship podium for the first time since 2017.

He also won a gold and a bronze at a world cup level. One year out and the man looming as his biggest threat is Italy’s Raffaello Ivaldi, who won C1 gold at the last two world cups of the season. Slovakia’s two-time Olympian and Rio 2016 silver medalist, Matej Benus, contested every world cup in 2023 and did not miss a single final, winning two silver medals.


In the men’s K1, 2016 gold medalist Joe Clarke showed his best form by winning his first ever world title. His win in front of his home crowd at Lee Valley added to the two silver medals he won at world cups during the season.

Clarke missed selection for Tokyo, and is itching to get back to the Games. His clash with reigning Olympic champion Jiri Prskavec is set to be one of the highlights of Paris. Prskavec won two world cup golds during the 2023 season and finished second behind Clarke at the world titles.

His Czech teammate, Vit Prindis, was once again the stand out performer over the world cup season. After finishing 11th at the opening world cup, Prindis won three silver and a bronze. Sadly, as each country can only send one athlete to contest each discipline, Prindis will have a tough task booking a K1 ticket for the Games.

Back to the extraordinary performance of Jessica Fox over the 2023 season. In the C1, where she won gold in Tokyo, she won four of the five world cups and finished third at the world titles. In K1 she won three world cups and the world championships.

So on the final weekend in Paris, Fox won gold in the C1, gold in the K1, overall season gold in the C1, overall season gold in the K1, bronze in the kayak cross, and overall season bronze in the kayak cross. Six medals, four of them gold. No-one has ever had such a successful season.

Germany’s defending Olympic K1 champion, Ricarda Funk, had a season disrupted by injury and illness, while fellow German Elena Lilik won a C1 and K1 world cup gold.

Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin won the K1 world title in front of family and friends at Lee Valley, and a world cup bronze in Prague.


Kayak cross will make its Olympic debut in Paris. The growth of the sport, both in athlete participation and viewing numbers, shows it will be an exciting addition to the Games program.

During 2023 there were five different winners of both the men’s and women’s competition, highlighting how wide open the competition is. British paddlers Joseph Clarke and Kimberley Woods won the world titles at Lee Valley, and also the overall season titles.

Clarke finished with a gold, silver and bronze, while Woods had a gold and two silvers at world cups. The race for kayak cross Olympic quotas will come to a head in Prague next year, when three men and three women will be able to earn their country a guaranteed start in Paris.

Importantly, only athletes who have not yet earned an Olympic quota for their country will be eligible to compete in Prague.


More than ever before, the sustainability of our sport is forefront in our planning for the future. Through our Fit-For-Future agenda we are focusing on ways to make our venues more environmentally sustainable, and to give our events a smaller carbon footprint.

The Paris 2024 venue at Vaires-Sur-Marne has used cutting edge technology to develop a facility that is environmentally sustainable and will benefit the slalom community for decades to come. For LA28 it’s likely a venue that already exists will be used.

And organisers of Brisbane 2032 are already actively engaged with designers and experts around the world, cherry picking the very best practices and researching new approaches to ensure the slalom venue for the Australian Olympics will be cutting edge, with a local connection that will guarantee it plays a valuable role in the surrounding community for many years after 2032.

In 2023 the slalom community continued to work hard to encourage and promote more women in senior roles, including as officials and coaches. The ICF recognises there is still a lot of hard work to do in this area, but is determined to ensure the playing field is levelled sooner rather than later.

Crowd Paris 2023 slalom

Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross