Jess Fox’s prowess on the whitewater rapids is hard to overstate. Beyond her previous Olympic efforts at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and Olympic Games London 2012, Jess has won fifteen medals in the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, including 7 gold medals, making her the most successful paddler in the history of the competition. It runs in the family too, both of Jess’ parents competed in the Olympics Games as canoeists.
We are proud to be supporting Jess as she chases gold at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. We caught up with her recently, while meeting with our Olympian and Paralympian ambassadors, to ask about her journey to achieve gold for Australia.
"Set goals, work hard, believe in yourself and find people who can help you."
Q: What fuelled your dream of competing at the Olympics Games?
A: I was pretty young during the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 but I still felt that incredible energy and hype and loved watching sport in our backyard.
When I was a little older, I was glued to the TV for the Olympic Games Athens 2004 and Olympic Games Beijing 2008. Both my parents are Olympians and were coaching other Olympians at that time. I was surrounded by it and started to dream about going one day.
Q:When did your love for canoeing start?
A: I did a lot of swimming and gymnastics as a kid, as well as the usual ball sports at school. It was when I was about 11 I found canoeing and decided to follow in my parents footsteps. It started when I broke my arm and my physiotherapist recommended paddling as rehab.
Once I got onto the whitewater rapids, I was hooked and loved it.
Q: In a difficult 2020, how did you keep motivated over the last 12 months?
A: I had great support from family, friends, my team and sponsors. It was hard for everyone and having perspective during that time was important. I enjoyed more variety in my training, trying new things and working on the areas I could improve.
I did a lot more strength training and worked on getting stronger. The motivation was to get back on the whitewater and improve every day.
Q: Do you think a limited crowd at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will affect your performance?
There is incredible energy when there is a full grandstand of cheering spectators. I’ll always have goosebumps thinking back to the Olympic Games London 2012 experience I had. But, I’ve also had many races overseas or at home without many spectators so I don’t think it will impact me too much.
Q: What's something people don't know about you that’s unexpected?
I have been a greyhound foster carer for a year and it’s been such a rewarding experience. I don’t think I’ll ever stop!
Q: What's the best piece of advice you can give to anyone that is just starting out?
A: Set goals, work hard, believe in yourself and find people who can help you.
Be a sponge and learn from everyone! Remember that it’s about progress, not perfection, and that it’s more important to try your best and learn from your mistakes to improve for next time. We all have bad days and bad races but those are the most valuable to learn and get better.
Q: Finally, where in the world would you love to take a road trip right now?
A: The Northern Territory or the southern coast of France to visit family!
Credit to Toyota Australia