Olympic champion Jess Fox will make history as the first Australian canoe slalom athlete to compete at four Olympics, after her selection in the Australian Olympic Team for Paris today.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced the 29-year-old’s selection to compete in the C1 and K1 events, in which she won gold and bronze respectively at Tokyo 2020.
She will also compete in the Kayak Cross event when it makes its Olympic debut in Paris.
With one gold, one silver and two bronze medals from her three Olympic Games, 10 individual Canoe World Championship titles, another four team World Championship gold and 11 overall World Cup titles, Fox is the most decorated canoe slalom athlete of all time.
Born in Marseille, with her mother and coach Myriam Fox competing at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games for France, the Paris Games holds a special connection for Fox.
Chef de Mission for the 2024 Australian Olympic Team Anna Meares congratulated Jess on her selection.
“Making one Australian Olympic Team is a rare and special feat – to achieve this four times is truly special,” Ms Meares said.
“It’s a testament to the work Jess puts in on the water, in the gym and in the small details honing her craft to stay at the absolute peak of her sport for more than a decade.
“Jess’ C1 victory in Tokyo is an indelible Australian Olympic memory that brought so much joy to Australians watching at home and around the world.
“Jess epitomises so much of what is special about Olympic sport, and her outstanding results are just one part of it. Jess is a leader on and off the water, and a valuable member of both the AOC’s and International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commissions.
“She has used her influence to help achieve gender equality in canoe slalom events on the Olympic programme, and is constantly giving back to her local community.
“Congratulations to Jess, her family and the entire Paddle community, I look forward to seeing her continue to excite and inspire Australians in the lead up to Paris 2024.”
When Fox takes to the water in Paris, she will surpass triple Olympians Rob Bell, Warwick Draper and Danielle Woodward to become Australia’s first four-time Canoe Slalom Olympian.
Fox was born in Marseille, with her mother Myriam a dual Olympian and father Richard a Great Britain Olympic paddler. Moving to Penrith aged four, she honed her craft at the Penrith Whitewater centre, home of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
“I’m proud and grateful to be heading to Paris,” Fox said. “London was my first games and it doesn’t feel that long ago, to be selected for my fourth Olympic Games is very special.
“The French connection will make it a unique Games for me and one that my family and friends in France will be able to enjoy and experience live.
“It’s been a wonderful 2023 season and I’m so pleased to have qualified early which gives me a bit more freedom in my preparation this summer to train through the domestic season.
“I’ll be one of the more experienced members of the Team, I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with the wider Australian Olympic team. There’s only two of us selected at the moment but I’m excited to see it grow as we get closer to Paris!”
Under Paddle Australia’s nomination criteria, athletes are eligible for early nomination if they achieved specified benchmark results during the 2023 season – which Jess secured with results including winning the overall World Cup titles for both C1 and K1, and K1 gold and C1 bronze at the World Championships.
Australia has already earned a quota in men’s K1 with further chances to earn quotas in men’s C1 and men’s and women’s kayak cross in 2024, with further nominations for selection to the Australian Olympic Team expected next year.
Paddle Australia President, Olympian Andrew Trim said making a fourth Olympic Team is a truly remarkable achievement.
“The Paddle Australia family and the wider paddling community all stand united and sincerely congratulate Jess today on her fourth Olympic Games selection,” Mr Trim said. “Supporting Jess to become the world’s best paddler and person is a privilege.
“As an individual athlete Jess exemplifies everything we aspire for. Preparing for an Olympic Games takes careful planning and when you are a world’s best athlete like Jess is, to have selection achieved as early as possible has its advantages. Jess, Myriam, and the wider performance support team can look forward with a clarity of purpose and make performance decisions that will help her best prepare.
“For everyone at Paddle Australia it is an honour to work with Jess and the Australian Olympic Committee on our team’s journey to Paris.”
The Canoe Slalom competition will be held from Saturday 27 July 2024 to Monday 5 August 2024 at Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium – Whitewater stadium.