Australian Olympic dual medallist and reigning 2017 K1 World Champion Jessica Fox has added the “World Paddle Awards – 2017 Sportswoman of the Year” to her long list of achievements and accolades. Fox received the prestigious award, which recognises the year’s most outstanding female athlete or female team in any paddlesport, at the World Paddle Awards gala dinner held in Silkeborg, Denmark on Saturday (24 February 2018). The event was attended by many of the sport’s Olympic and World Championship medal-winners and scores of canoesport fans from around the world.
With two Olympic medals and 19 World Championship gold medals to her name (Senior, U23, Junior & team gold), the 23-year-old became the first woman in history to win her fifth senior World Championship titles at the 2017 World Championships in Pau (over a period of five years: 2013-2017).
The Sportswoman of the Year award further cements Jess’ name in paddlesports history with her joining a handful of remarkable athletes, including New Zealand’s dual Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington (Sprint) and 18 times Canoe Marathon World Champion Renata Csay (Hungary, Marathon).
“It is such an honour to win this award. The finalists are all incredible athletes across all disciplines of canoeing who have had phenomenal seasons and contributed so much to the sport so to be recognised in this way is huge and I am very grateful for the votes and support of the WPA, broader canoeing community and all the fans,” Fox said.
After a disappointing performance in the C1 event at the 2017 World Championships, Jess showed incredible resilience and maturity to bounce back and win the K1 event the next day by more than four seconds.
“Obviously being the favourite in the C1 after three consecutive titles, I was super disappointed with my C1 race at the World Championships but learnt so much in terms of pressure, recovery, resilience and being able to bounce back to win the K1 the next day made it a really special race. It was my second world title in the K1 and I was really proud of the way I raced. I’d say it was my best run ever!”
“We also came away with two teams medals in the C1 and K1 teams and to share the podium with the girls was also really cool as we have never won a teams medal in both the events.”
With the C1 event being added to the Olympic program in Tokyo, Jess’ focus has been split between the two disciplines, with her winning medals in both events at numerous World Cups in 2017 and most recently at the 2018 Canoe Slalom Australian Open. Last week Fox was also selected to represent Australia in both events at the 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup Series and the 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships. Find out more about the 2018 Australian Canoe Slalom Team here.
“Last year (2016) being an Olympic year, the focus was more on the K1 but in 2017 I tried to make my training 50/50 in K1 and C1 and really enjoyed it. I had some awesome races in the C1 like in Augsburg and Ivrea where I won gold with a big margin, but it was more the way I raced that was a bit different. Really attacking it from start to finish,” she said.
As one of the most consistent female paddlers in the world, Jess is now focussed on matching the men in order to keep improving.
“A major performance goal will be to defend the K1 world title and regain the C1 world title but I am also testing different kayak and canoe models and playing around with design so I am looking forward to exploring that side of things too to develop technique and chase and challenge the guys on the water too!”
With a very quick final run at the World Championships in Pau and 105.77 per cent of the K1 Men winning time, it might only be a matter of time before Jess challenges the men on the water.
Six Australian Canoeing members, including Jess Fox, were recognised for their achievements and investment in Paddlesport by being nominated for the 2017 World Paddle Awards. Sandy Robson was a finalist in the Sportswoman of the Year Award category, while Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi and Sue Natoli were amongst the finalists for the Foundation Award.
Ian Beasley was nominated for the WPA Media Award, while Dean Gardiner was Nominee for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The World Paddle Awards (WPA) is held annually, celebrating the most remarkable men and women from the world of paddlesports along with their achievements from the previous calendar year across seven categories.
In 2016 Australian Canoeing’s Paralympic Champion Curtis McGrath took home the 2016 “Golden Paddle” as Sportsman of the Year.
More about Jessica Fox:
Disciplines: canoe slalom (C1W, K1W), canoe sprint (K1),
– Olympic silver and bronze medalist – 2012, 2016.
– Triple C1W World Champion – 2013, 2014, 2015
– Double K1W World Champion – 2014, 2017
– Overall World Cup winner C1W – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
– U23 World Champion K1W – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
– U23 World Champion C1W – 2013, 2014, 2016
– Junior World Champion K1W and C1W – 2010, 2012
About the World Paddle Awards
The World Paddle Awards (WPA) are held annually, celebrating the most remarkable men and women from the world of paddlesports along with their achievements from the previous calendar year. Now in their fourth year, the ceremony has attracted a global audience of sports fans who vote to shortlist nominees in a public ballot before the winners are chosen by the WPA Academy itself.
The winners of the awards receive The Golden Paddle, a symbol of how each discipline, even though different in sensation to many, requires a paddle used from a boat on water. The Golden Paddle is an emblem of what canoeists and kayakers have in common and depicts the Awards’ mission to unite all people and paddlesports.
The World Paddle Awards will be back again in February 2019: www.worldpaddleawards.com
Photo credit: World Paddle Awards | Jens Thybo | Silkeborg