Australian canoe slalom coach Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi hopes to use her International Olympic Committee coaching award to encourage more women to take up sport leadership roles.

Fox-Jerusalmi is preparing for another busy ICF slalom season, which will include the 2023 World Championships and Olympic qualifier at Lee Valley in London in September. Lee Valley was the venue where she coached her daughter, Jessica, to a K1 silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Jessica Fox went on to win Olympic bronze in kayak in Rio, and then won gold when canoe made its slalom debut in Tokyo. The Australian also added another kayak bronze in Japan.

In December Fox-Jerusalmi, a two-time Olympian and Atlanta bronze medalist who is now a successful team coach, was a recipient of the IOC’s Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award. In an interview with the IOC she hoped women would be inspired.

“Maybe now it shows that it's possible and there's recognition for the coaching job, because there's not enough women coaching around the globe,” she said.

“I'm the lucky one, because I think there are a lot of coaches around the world that also deserve this award. The more women we have, the more women think they can go into these jobs and it's okay to be a coach, and It's okay because there's a door open for them to become a coach.”

IOC statistics show that in the past decade only 10 per cent of all coaches accredited at the summer and winter Olympic Games were women. Just 13 per cent of coaches in Tokyo were women.

The IOC has established a women coach working group, and also runs a four-year Women in Sport High-Performance Pathway Programme (WISH), which has a goal of preparing more than 100 women for coaching at elite level.

So far 66 female coaches from 14 sports, including canoeing, have taken part, and Fox-Jerusalmi is urging more women to get involved.

“To the participants of the WISH programme or even to the women that want to get into coaching and can't be in that programme, follow your dream, and be persistent in what you want to do,” she said.

“Try to get educated and try to gain experience to be able to reach your goal.”

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