For a course that Jess Fox claims can be pretty tough and a bit of a struggle, Krakow is proving a very happy hunting ground for the Olympic champion.

So far the Australian has started in Krakow seven times. She has won gold in six of those. Only in the K1 in 2015 did she miss out, having to settle for bronze. But she won the women’s C1 at the same event.

One year later, at the 2016 ICF U23 world championships, she won gold in both the women’s K1 and C1. Two years later she repeated the feat at the 2018 ICF world cup.

On Saturday gold medal number six came along, a very convincing win in the K1. On Sunday she will compete in the women’s C1 and the extreme slalom. In the C1 she is the reigning Olympic champion and multiple world title holder. She is the reigning extreme slalom world champion.

There is every chance the 28-year-old will leave Krakow on Sunday night having won her eighth gold medal from just nine starts. Few athletes can boast such incredible dominance over a venue, no matter what the sport.

“I’ve had some good races here in Krakow, so it’s nice to come back,” Fox said on race eve in something of an understatement.

“The course is a little bit different, but it’s always a challenge racing here.”

Not too much of a challenge, it seems, although she did look exhausted by the time she crossed the finish line on Saturday.

“It’s a very physical course, the water is kind of dead and slow in a lot of places, so you’ve got to always be paddling to keep the speed on the boat,” she said.

“I’m interested to see what my heartrate was at the finish because I don’t think I had much more in the tank.”

Fox has now emphatically answered the one question that was bugging her coming into the 2022 season – had she done enough work back in Australia to prepare for the world’s best on the demanding ICF slalom world cup circuit?

Adverse Sydney weather made it almost impossible to get onto the Penrith whitewater course during the summer. Most of the Australian team spent all their time training on flatwater.

But with back-to-back gold medals in the K1 at the first two world cups of the season, Fox can now sleep a little easier at night.

“There are always a few unknowns at the start of a season, and our preparation was a little bit different this time,” she said.

“But I think if the last few years have taught us anything, you’ve got to be adaptable.”

Thrown into the “few unknowns” category is the ongoing menace of Covid. In Krakow it was the German team that succumbed, leaving one of the world’s most powerful slalom teams watching the livestream from their hotel rooms.

The trick for the athletes is to stay safe while trying to perform at their best.

“We all know it (Covid) is a possibility,” Fox said.

“Last year was a very strange season, we had to be super strict and super safe leading up to the Olympics.

“This year we’re obviously still being careful, but there are less precautions in place, so when it does happen it does remind us that we have to keep socially distancing and do what we can each day to be as safe as possible.

“And if you do get it, just rest and recover as well as you can.”

Pics by Balint Vekassy

Australia Jessica Fox K1 slalom world cup Krakow 2022

Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross
#ICFcanoeslalom #Canoeslalom