If you were to write a script for the introduction of women’s C1 to the Olympic program, there’s a fair chance it would have looked pretty close to what unfolded at the Tokyo Games.

The fight to have C1 added to the program was the culmination of years of campaigning. Australia’s Jessica Fox had more skin in the game than most. She arrived in Tokyo a red-hot favourite, but went into the final carrying the disappointment of missing gold in the K1 days earlier.

The history books show Fox, the last athlete on the water, blew the competition away in the final. The 27-year-old posted a time that would have placed her sixth in the men’s final, and was faster than the time set by Ricarda Funk when she won K1 gold two days earlier.

The minor medals went to the only two other C1 world champions since the London Olympics – Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin with silver, Germany’s Andrea Herzog the bronze.

The field has tightened considerably since Tokyo. More athletes are now doing both K1 and C1. Fox has not won a world title since Japan – Germany’s Elena Lilik and Herzog won the 2021 and 2022 titles respectively. Fox has won two of the three world cups this year, with Lilik taking the gold in Tacen.

Underscoring the depth in the women’s C1, seven athletes from six different countries have shared the nine World Cup medals on offer this year.

The competition for the one quota place available per country will once again be intense. In Germany, Herzog and Lilik are both former world champions. France, Great Britain and the Czech Republic are other countries where the fight for the right to paddle in Paris will go down to the wire.

The women’s C1 Olympic final will be held one year from today.

Canoe Slalom
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