The sport sees competitors navigate a canoe through a whitewater course. Aussie, Jess Fox is in with a big shot for gold….
The sport sees competitors navigate a canoe through a whitewater course. Aussie, Jess Fox is in with a big shot for gold.
There were no cheers from the empty stadium and there were tears rolling down Jessica Fox’s face as her dream of winning a pair of gold medals in Tokyo was ended by two tiny touches in the K1 finals.
Coach and mother Myriam cried openly after Fox finished with a bronze medal – and a place in her sport’s history as the first Australian to win a medal in paddling at three consecutive Olympics.
Fox soon joined in, her disappointment palpable as she made her way to the medal ceremony.
Her place in history was little consolation to a woman who had the form to win gold, but not the luck.
Fox said she was “emotional” after the race which was exacerbated by a hug from her mum
“I’m feeling all the emotions, relief to be on the podium,” she said.
“I’m a bit of disappointment to not put down the dream run.
“I think there’s a lot to learn from today. It is still an amazing podium to be a part of.”
A shattered Fox fell short of taking gold in the K1 on Tuesday on a technical and physically testing whitewater course.
Cool, calm and collected in the heat, Fox looked the goods for the gold medal but picked up two penalties which saw her great rival, German Ricardo Funk, and Spanish champion Maialen Chourraut take silver.
It was a bitter blow for the Penrith paddler who had tasked herself with winning two individual golds in Tokyo – an achievement only ever achieved by 10 other Australians.
Instead she penned her name in the record books for a different reason with her silver in London, and bronze medals in Rio and now Tokyo.
The 27-year-old said she would “put today to bed” as she regroups for her C1 heat tomorrow.
“It’s important to put today to bed, clear my mind and come back for heats tomorrow,” she said.
“I guess it wasn’t just my day.”
Father Richard Fox, who called the final for Seven, said he was “proud”.
“She was in the race. She made mistakes. She came back. She was still in the race, right down to the wire,” Richard Fox said after the race.
“And, yeah. Comes away with a bronze. Look, what a fight.
“Credit to Maialen Chourraut. She is a racer.
“Maybe Jess chased her too hard. But C1 to come, so that fire will be burning.”
Fox must now shake off the loss to refocus on winning a gold medal in her second event – the C1 – in a sport she didn’t really take too at first.
The C1 racing is close to her heart as she has personally helped campaign for the inclusion of a women’s event in this class for almost a decade.
“It will be very special,” Fox told News Corp
Like most athletes at the Olympics being held during a global pandemic, Fox has made many sacrifices to be in Tokyo.
Covid restrictions, lockdowns and enforced isolation at events meant she has spent limited time with her French boyfriend Matthieu Biazizzo, also a paddler but who failed to qualify for the Games.
“We were separated for eight months during Covid which was hard,” said Fox, who trained in her backyard pool during the hard NSW lockdown from March 2020.
The pair were able to meet up briefly in the lead up to the Olympics when both were competing in a series of World Cup events in Europe.
“We had to respect each other’s team bubble,” she said.
Originally published asPain for Fox despite slice of Aussie Olympic history