If Jessica Fox needs any tips or advice on how to deal with the pressure of an Olympic kayaking race, she doesn’t have to look far
Fox’s parents, Richard and Myriam, are Olympians themselves, with Myriam pulling double duties as her daughter’s coach.
Jessica will be competing in the K1 – the same event her mum won a bronze medal in at the 1996 Games, where she competed for France.
Fox’s dad competed for Great Britain at the 1992 Games, placing fourth, and won ten gold medals at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships during his career.
After moving to Australia in 1998, Richard became the Australian national team Head Coach, leading the slalom team at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Not bad role models for a youngster to grow up with.
Fox said her heritage has provided a definite advantage in her career.
“They’ve taught me everything I know,” she said.
“There’s been plenty of advice along the way from both my parents,” Fox said. “What has stuck with me is to be natural, enjoy it and paddle like I know how to without worrying what the others do – race my own race.”
Fox said she’s stoked to be on her Olympic journey with her mum by her side.
“We get along really well as mum and daughter and coach and athlete so I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with her,” she said.
“At home she’s mum and on the water she’s the coach.”
While her parents are both stars of the sport, Fox is definitely making a name for herself in her own right.
The teenager scored the only Australian spot available for women in slalom in London, beating out her more experienced rivals.
She was the inaugural K1 Youth Olympic Champion in 2010, and part of the gold medal winning women’s C1 team gold at the most recent canoe world championships in Slovakia.
Fox was named the Australian Canoeing Athlete of the Year.
The French-born youngster, who now lives in Penrith, turned 18 last month and said while she’s been working towards Olympic selection for years, it’s yet to sink in.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was little,” she said.
“I’ve watched the Olympics on TV and have been inspired by all the athletes – now it’s my turn and that is very special. “
Fox has spent the past few months competing and training overseas in preparation for the big dance and her results suggest she’s hitting form at the right time.
In June she finished seventh in a World Cup race in Cardiff, the only Aussie to make the finals.
“I’m looking forward to racing and delivering my best but most importantly enjoying the moment and my paddling,” she said.
“My ultimate goal is to medal but I am aiming to make the final, being one of the youngest and least experienced I think it’s more realistic.”
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