Event: Canoe slalom and kayak -C1 & K1
Olympic History: London 2012 (silver) Rio 2016 (bronze)
Highlights: Greatest Paddler of All-time (10 World Championship medals including seven gold and seven overall World Cup titles)
Coach: Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi (mother)
Club: Penrith Valley Canoeing
Year Born: 1994 (25)
State Born: Marseille, France - grew up in Leonay (Penrith), NSW from age 4.
Born to Olympian and multiple world champion paddle parents, it was expected that Jessica Fox would know her way around the water, but no one could have predicted she would become the world’s greatest paddler before she hit 25.
Growing up in Marseille, France, before moving to Penrith, NSW when she was four, Fox and her younger sister Noemi have both followed in the footsteps of their parents, Barcelona 1992’s Richard Fox, who retired with five individual world titles for Great Britain and triple Olympian, bronze medallist and coach, Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi.
Fox took up paddling as an 11-year-old but didn’t have any desire to compete in it, saying she didn’t really enjoy it as a child. It wasn’t until she broke her arm and the physio suggested she try kayaking as rehab, she found her love of the whitewater.
The youngster’s prowess on the water was evident early on and with that, her mum started to formally coach her competitively.
When she was 16, Fox took out the C1 and K1 Junior World Championships in 2010 and K1 gold at the Singapore 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, just one year after she made her senior international debut.
Not only successful on the water, Fox was also putting in the hard yards at Blaxland High School. She finished her HSC year with an ATAR score of 99.1, came first in NSW in PDHPE, achieved band 6 in all her subjects and was named Dux of her school.
After finishing her studies in 2011, Fox found herself atop the junior world podium again the following year, adding another gold in K1 before making her Olympic debut at London 2012.
Fox won silver as the youngest woman in canoe slalom to ever medal at an Olympics.
The then 18-year-old’s medal win had an additional silver lining. Not only did she recover from initially capsizing in the heats, Fox defeated 44-year-old Czech paddler, Štěpánka Hilgertová, who had beaten her mother to K1 gold medal at Atlanta 1996, sixteen years earlier.
After London 2012, Fox collected three U23 World Championship in C1 and two in K1. She created history in 2014, becoming the first woman to ever win two events (K1 and C1) at the U23 World Championship in Penrith and at the World Championships in the USA.
Fox then contested her second Olympic Games, Rio 2016, where she once again found the podium.
She qualified in fifth place in the semi-final before producing a superb final run that moved her into gold-medal position, but her lead was short-lived after a two-second penalty knocked her back to silver. With four paddlers still to compete, Fox ended up winning bronze.
The following year Fox won a world title along with several gold and silver C1 and K1 world cup medals. She also added “Canoeist of the Year” and “NSW Athlete of the Year” to her crown, but Fox was still just getting started.
2018 has arguably been her best year yet. After winning a record-breaking six consecutive World Cup titles and finishing her season undefeated, Fox became the first athlete, male or female to achieve the ‘triple double’, taking out both the C1 and K1 titles across three World Cup events.
In between studying Social Science (Psychology) Fox curated the most successful canoe slalom season in history, winning the overall World Cup and World Championship and now boasts 10 World Championship medals including seven gold and seven overall World Cup titles.
Her achievements saw her surpass the records set by her parents and earned her the title of “World’s Greatest Paddler" with Fox also being awarded the Sportswoman of the Year at the World Paddle Awards, the Sport NSW and NSWIS Athlete of the Year and the AIS Female Athlete of the year alongside her mum who was named Coach of the Year.