Two Olympic champions who were heading towards weekends they would rather forget resurrected their world championship campaigns with gold in extreme slalom finals on the final afternoon of competition in Bratislava.

Australia’s Jessica Fox, Tokyo 2020 C1 Olympic champion, and Great Britain’s Joe Clarke, Rio 2016 K1 gold medalist, had both failed to make a final on Saturday and Sunday, but made amends with victories in the new Olympic event of extreme slalom.

For the first time in her career Fox had failed to make the final of both the C1 and the K1, events in which she is a multiple world champion, but turned her form around to win the extreme gold at just her third international outing.

“It wasn’t my weekend this weekend in either the kayak or the canoe, so I just wanted to have fun in the extreme and it felt great to be out there,” Fox said.

“It was exhausting, mentally as well, because I had good runs and it just comes down to centimetres and a tiny bit of precision, and it’s a huge penalty and you’re out.

“I’ve had an amazing season, and this is a great way to finish.”

Germany’s Elena Apel continued her incredible weekend with a silver medal, to add to her gold in the C1 and silver in the K1, while American teenager Evy Leibfarth took the bronze.

Joe Clarke did not even make the semi-finals of the men’s K1, and then sneaked into the extreme slalom after another athlete withdrew.

“It’s not been a great championships for me, so to be a world champion is just amazing,” Clarke said.

“It definitely makes it worth coming here. It’s really tough, all the rounds today have been a challenge in different ways, but I’m absolutely stoked. I just love it.”

New Zealand’s Finn Butcher won the silver, and Austria’s Mario Leitner finished third.

Extreme canoe slalom will make its Olympic debut in Paris in 2024.

Pics by Dezso Vekassy

Australia Jessica Fox extreme slalom Bratislava 2021

Kayak Cross
Canoe Slalom
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