Brilliant career keeps coming up for heir


Summary

Breathing a little easier: Jessica Fox, whose three-month tour of Europe, included a scary moment and great success. Photo: Anthony JohnsonJESSICA Fox is upside down, grasping desperately for her paddle. She is quickly running out of breath as the white water churns around her. She fights the urge to panic. It is July. Fox, 19, and the K1 silver medallist at last year’s London Olympics, is at Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia, for the under 23 world championships. The first outing in a new canoe for the C1 event she is dominating has just met a disastrous and desperate end.
Nanjing Night Net

Natural courses can be more dangerous for canoeists and kayakers with obstacles such as trees and rocks, against the “well rounded bollards and softer features” that Fox says characterise man-made courses such as this one where water levels and force can be controlled, or hands-on help – as she may soon need – can be a rope’s throw away by attendants.

But capsizing as she has while “surfing” a stopper – a wave that will “pull you back in and hold you” – can still be frightening.

“I was dizzy and couldn’t breathe,” Fox said this week at home in Penrith of the moment that led her to think “if I don’t get air in the next two seconds” she would have to unzip from her canoe and face the heavy rush of water that would make the situation “worse before it gets better”.

But after 30 seconds, Fox said she fought the fear, pushed “up from the bottom and got a bit of air” and was suddenly flushed to safe water.

Fox not only handled the ordeal well, but won gold in the C1. It was but one part of a terrific season.

In the World Cup, Fox won the C1 in four rounds. At Tacen, Slovenia she also became the first woman to win the C1 and K1 at a cup round. Then last weekend, she won gold in the C1 at the world titles in Prague, and a second in the C1 team event before her one main setback – not making the K1 final.

But considering her three-month tour was her first with so much racing against opposition 10 or more years older, it was invaluable experience.

“You can’t learn unless you have that racing,” Fox said. “It is when you are on the start line of a final that you know what it’s like.”

Fox, who is studying social science and psychology, has also put plenty of energy into her call for the C1 event to join the K1 on the Olympic program for the 2016 Games. But until the International Canoe Federation ticks off a change in the 4-1 ratio for men’s and women’s events for the C1’s entry, the International Olympic Committee can’t act.

“It’s been a hard battle,” she said. “A lot of people are missing the point why we are pushing it. It’s an event that I’d love to compete in at the Olympics but Australia is pushing for gender equity because it is the right thing to do. It is for the benefit of the sport. It’s for the benefit of women … to get more women involved.

“Some federations say ‘women are not at the level of the Olympics. We are not going to support them until they get to this level’. Some girls have been brainwashed to think they are not good enough, don’t deserve to be in the Olympics. But it’s not about that any more, it’s about equal opportunity.”

Supporting Fox in her campaign and pursuit for white water success are her parents Richard and Myriam who are former Olympic paddlers. Richard, a 1992 Olympian and five-time world K1 slalom champion for Great Britain, is Canoeing Australia’s national performance director. Myriam, from Marseilles in France where Jessica was born and lived until the family moved to Australia when she was five, was an Olympian in 1992 and 1996 – when she won bronze – and a two-time K1 world champion. She coaches Jessica and her 16 year-old sister Noemie.

Jessica’s first sports were swimming and gymnastics but at 12 she took to the white water when advised by her physiotherapist to paddle for rehabilitation from a broken arm in a gymnastics fall. Soon, Fox found “going down rapids was much more exciting than swimming”.

“For a long time I heard ‘You are the daughter of Richard Fox. Are you going to be as good?” Fox said, laughing. “At my first junior worlds in 2010 at France the speaker was saying, ‘Is she going to equal her mum? She was the queen of the water. Is Jessica going to be the princess’?

“I just decided I am my own person. I am different, that is what I told myself. Then when I won the junior worlds. Well, mum never won at junior level. So I am a step ahead.”

Twitter – @rupertguinness

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Breathing a little easier: Jessica Fox, whose three-month tour of Europe, included a scary moment and great success. Photo: Anthony JohnsonJESSICA Fox is upside down, grasping desperately for her paddle. She is quickly running out of breath as the white water churns around her. She fights the urge to panic. It is July. Fox, 19, and the K1 silver medallist at last year’s London Olympics, is at Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia, for the under 23 world championships. The first outing in a new canoe for the C1 event she is dominating has just met a disastrous and desperate end.
Nanjing Night Net

Natural courses can be more dangerous for canoeists and kayakers with obstacles such as trees and rocks, against the “well rounded bollards and softer features” that Fox says characterise man-made courses such as this one where water levels and force can be controlled, or hands-on help – as she may soon need – can be a rope’s throw away by attendants.

But capsizing as she has while “surfing” a stopper – a wave that will “pull you back in and hold you” – can still be frightening.

“I was dizzy and couldn’t breathe,” Fox said this week at home in Penrith of the moment that led her to think “if I don’t get air in the next two seconds” she would have to unzip from her canoe and face the heavy rush of water that would make the situation “worse before it gets better”.

But after 30 seconds, Fox said she fought the fear, pushed “up from the bottom and got a bit of air” and was suddenly flushed to safe water.

Fox not only handled the ordeal well, but won gold in the C1. It was but one part of a terrific season.

In the World Cup, Fox won the C1 in four rounds. At Tacen, Slovenia she also became the first woman to win the C1 and K1 at a cup round. Then last weekend, she won gold in the C1 at the world titles in Prague, and a second in the C1 team event before her one main setback – not making the K1 final.

But considering her three-month tour was her first with so much racing against opposition 10 or more years older, it was invaluable experience.

“You can’t learn unless you have that racing,” Fox said. “It is when you are on the start line of a final that you know what it’s like.”

Fox, who is studying social science and psychology, has also put plenty of energy into her call for the C1 event to join the K1 on the Olympic program for the 2016 Games. But until the International Canoe Federation ticks off a change in the 4-1 ratio for men’s and women’s events for the C1’s entry, the International Olympic Committee can’t act.

“It’s been a hard battle,” she said. “A lot of people are missing the point why we are pushing it. It’s an event that I’d love to compete in at the Olympics but Australia is pushing for gender equity because it is the right thing to do. It is for the benefit of the sport. It’s for the benefit of women … to get more women involved.

“Some federations say ‘women are not at the level of the Olympics. We are not going to support them until they get to this level’. Some girls have been brainwashed to think they are not good enough, don’t deserve to be in the Olympics. But it’s not about that any more, it’s about equal opportunity.”

Supporting Fox in her campaign and pursuit for white water success are her parents Richard and Myriam who are former Olympic paddlers. Richard, a 1992 Olympian and five-time world K1 slalom champion for Great Britain, is Canoeing Australia’s national performance director. Myriam, from Marseilles in France where Jessica was born and lived until the family moved to Australia when she was five, was an Olympian in 1992 and 1996 – when she won bronze – and a two-time K1 world champion. She coaches Jessica and her 16 year-old sister Noemie.

Jessica’s first sports were swimming and gymnastics but at 12 she took to the white water when advised by her physiotherapist to paddle for rehabilitation from a broken arm in a gymnastics fall. Soon, Fox found “going down rapids was much more exciting than swimming”.

“For a long time I heard ‘You are the daughter of Richard Fox. Are you going to be as good?” Fox said, laughing. “At my first junior worlds in 2010 at France the speaker was saying, ‘Is she going to equal her mum? She was the queen of the water. Is Jessica going to be the princess’?

“I just decided I am my own person. I am different, that is what I told myself. Then when I won the junior worlds. Well, mum never won at junior level. So I am a step ahead.”

Twitter – @rupertguinness

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.