She scored a surprise silver at the London 2012 Games, now four years on paddler Jessica Fox will have another chance to add to her medal collection after being selected on the 2016 Australian Olympic Team.
Fox, 21, will get the chance to go for gold in the K1 event after she won a tight nomination trial at the Oceania Championships at Penrith, her home course.
“It’s a relief and elation. It’s a really tough process, only one woman can go, there’s only one woman’s K1 spot. It was brutal,” Fox said.
“Everyone just expected I’d qualify for Rio. It’s been a hard and unpleasant two weeks of races and a lot of hard work over four years. Now the process is over we can look forward to the next step.”
In her debut Olympics, Fox produced one of the Australian performances of London 2012 when as an 18-year-old she paddled to silver at the Lee Valley White Water Centre north of London. She blitzed her final run and was in the gold medal position for several paddlers before beaten by Frenchwoman Emilie Fer, who was 29 in 2012.
Now the more experienced Fox has her eye on going one better at Rio.
“Gold is the next logical step, but it’s not that simple,” Fox said with a laugh.
“When I arrive at Rio I want to be as best prepared as possible. I learnt a lot at London.
“I’ve got more expectation and pressure now but I’ll just focus on doing the best I can. Any medal would be an awesome achievement.”
A keen swimmer, Fox took up the sport a decade ago as rehabilitation after breaking her arm. Now she’s well and truly following in her paddling parent’s footsteps.
Her mother, Myriam, competed for France at the Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, winning bronze in Atlanta in the K1. While her father, Richard, competed for Great Britain in the K1 at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, finishing fourth and was a 5-time World Champion. She competed against younger sister Noemie for the Rio spot.
The entire 2016 Australian Olympic Team will be finalised in July.