Sport: Canoe – Sprint
Olympic History: London 2012
Highlights: Racing at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Coach: Jake Michael
Year Born: 1988
State Born: New South Wales
Growing up in Mona Vale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Jo Brigden-Jones divided her free time between athletics, netball, nippers and swimming. She enjoyed sport because it allowed her to be with her friends and have fun outdoors.
Brigden-Jones began taking a serious interest in sport when the Northern Beaches Kayak Club selected the 13-year-old for their talent identification program. She began paddling four times a week and would challenge herself to get better each day.
Brigden-Jones made steady progress with the paddle, but it took two years of serious training and persistence before she found her rhythm. During this time, she represented Australia at the Junior World Championships and Australian Youth Olympic Festival where she won five medals.
2008 was a breakthrough year as Brigden-Jones graduated to senior competition. Her form steadily improved and in 2010 she won her first individual world cup medal. Brigden-Jones was the top ranked female paddler and was looking strong ahead of the World Championships before a shoulder injury forced her withdrawal from the competition.
An injury-free Brigden-Jones returned to competition in 2011 and won her first world championships medal, a bronze in the K2 200 metres (with Hannah Davis). The pair also paddled in the K4 500m and secured Australia quota positions for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Brigden-Jones was subsequently selected to her first Australian Olympic Team.
At London, Brigden-Jones joined forces with Hannah Davis, Lyndsie Fogarty and Rachel Lovell in the K4 500. The crew finished sixth in their heat and semi-final.
Like many of her competitors, Brigden-Jones complements flat water training with surf lifesaving. At the 2013 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships she experienced another injury set-back when she dislocated her shoulder for a second time.
Brigden-Jones missed selection to the Olympic Games in Rio and took a break from the sport in 2016. During this time she fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a paramedic with NSW Ambulance.
Drawn back to paddling in 2017, Brigden-Jones could not ignore the desire to represent Australia at another Olympics and she resumed racing with a view to competing at Tokyo 2020.
In 2018, Brigden-Jones celebrated 15 years on the Australian Canoe Sprint Team and finished second at Szeged (HUN) World Cup K4 500.
Eight years after she made her Olympic debut, Brigden-Jones secured selection to her second Australian Olympic Team after she finished second behind Alyce Wood in the K1 500 at the 2020 Australian Championships. It was a successful regatta for Brigden-Jones who also won the women’s K1 and K2 200 and finished second in the women’s K2 500.