Jessica Fox wins silver for Australia – and for Penrith

Coming from the finest of paddling pedigree, Blaxland’s Jessica Fox, who trains at the Penrith Whitewater Rafting Centre, fulfilled her potential at the age of just 18 by winning silver in the K1 canoe slalom final.
Nanjing Night Net

Fox was third of 10 to complete the course and nailed her run, before waiting nervously in her craft watching her competitors on the big screen.

One by one they came and went, failing to beat Fox’s impressive time of 106.51 on the Lee Valley course, her medal hopes rising by the minute.

Just as she looked set to claim Australia’s second gold of the London Olympics, France’s Emilie Fer produced a stunning performance, heading Fox at each split before finishing in 105.90.

Spaniard Maialen Chourraut then threatened to bump Fox into bronze, but fell just 0.36 short of Fox’s time.

The Australian teenager’s silver surpasses her mother Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi’s K1 bronze for France in Atlanta, while her father Richard is a multiple world champion for Great Britain, before they moved to Australia to take over the national coaching program in 1998.

“You always dream of a medal, you always dream you can get up there on the dais,” she said.

“I knew if I had a good run, I could be top four or five, my main aim was to make the final. I’m still 18, one of the youngest to race and by making the final I was stoked.”

Fox admitted to struggling with nerves in the semi-final, when she picked up four seconds in penalties for touching the gates on the demanding slalom course.

She qualified eighth fasted for the final and determined to produce her best when it mattered.

“I just scraped in, my semi-final run wasn’t fantastic,” she said.

“I know I could improve on it. I was pumped, I was ready to go and the crowd was amazing.

“I was soaking up the atmosphere at the start line, it was really special.”

Fox looked up at her time and was forced to sit in her kayak past the finish line to learn her fate.

She could barely describe the elation when it was certain a medal would be hers.

“I wanted to get out (of the kayak), I didn’t want to stay there,” she said.

“I was really stressful to watch, you watch a few and then think at worst I’m fifth, at worst I’m fourth.

“I’m third — I’ve won silver. I was a long wait, but I’d rather be waiting than not (in contention).”

Fox is Australia’s seventh silver of the Games and the 10th medal overall, with just one gold.

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