Paddling her canoe

December 14, 2018 by Elana Bowman
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Paddler Jessica Fox has won the national 2018 AIS Sport Performance Female Athlete of the Year Award…and her mother was named coach of the year.

Jessica receives the award Photo: Twitter

Jessica says it has been her best year ever. She has worked hard and pushed herself as last year she had four second places, so this year’s persistence and hard work have paid off.

Her mother Myriam Jerusalmi serves as her coach and together they aim for high excellence and goals which Jessica wants to achieve. She believes that every athlete is aware of this

Jessica Fox told J-Wire “It’s not always fun and easy. You have to be comfortable and to work hard.”

Asked for advice for other athletes Jessica said:  “Work on the little things, to set the attitude right and to always look for a way to improve. Don’t compare yourselves to other athletes but by working on what you can do better.”

Jessica [rt] with friends setting out for the award night

Jessica trains six days a week at the white river rafting pool near her home in Sydney, goes to gym three days a week, does flat water sessions, does a form of Pilates, and in between has physio appointments, and other commitments so she is very busy.

Jessica was planning on studying at university but because she is travelling so much she opted to study psychology and social science online. Online studying has been good for her with her tight schedules and commitments so it was the only way to get it done.

Jessica added: “I really appreciate my rest days and enjoy catching up with friends, reading books, and watching Netflix. Because of all my travelling commitments, I enjoy being at home.”

Because both her mother and father Richard Fox were paddlers she shied away from the sport initially. However, she was very fortunate to grow up with her family in Penrith with access to the white river rapids right on her doorstep.

Jessica started kayaking competitively in 2006 and has not looked back ever since. She now competes in the kayak single event (K1W) and the canoe single event (C1W).

She made her first international junior team in 2009 and has won numerous junior events including the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, the Junior World Championships (5 titles), and won the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and competed in her first Open team in 2010 and has competed in a number of World Cup events, winning 3 World Cups in 2010 & 2011 in the C1 event.

Myriam and Jessica Fox who took out top prizes at Paddle Australia awards last month

In 2011 she juggled her sporting commitments while finishing her HSC. She placed 1st in the state for PDHPE, achieved band 6 in all her subjects and finished with an ATAR of 99.1 and Dux of Blaxland Highschool.

In the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics, Jess competed at the Junior World Championships in the USA where she won three gold medals. Using this performance to fuel her, she represented Australia at the London 2012 Olympic Games and won a silver medal. She became the youngest woman in canoe slalom to win an Olympic medal. Her mother, Myriam Jerusalmi, raced for France and won a bronze medal in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics in the same event that Jessica competed in at the London 2012 Olympics.

In 2013 she established herself as the world number 1 in the C1 event winning the u23 and Open World Championship title. Jess created history in 2014 becoming the first woman to win two events (K1 & C1) at the U23 World Championship in Penrith, NSW, and at the World Championships in the USA. She won an Olympic bronze medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Jessica won both World Cup titles which came with No.1 world rankings in each discipline at this year’s Youth Olympic Games in Rio.

She won NSW Athlete of the Year in 2013 and in 2017.

She is now known as the greatest female paddler in history.

The awards were held at the Star Casino in Sydney.

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