Paddler of the Year (Olympic Disciplines) – Jessica Fox (NSW)
OLYMPIC gold medallist and world champion Jessica Fox was presented with the Athlete of the Year (Olympic Disciplines) at the 2022 Paddle Australia Awards night, which was held on Saturday night at the Stamford Plaza, 241 O’Riordan St, Mascot.
Her mother Myriam was also recognised on the gala night, taking out the Coach of the Year award for Canoe Slalom.
Jessica’s award capped off a remarkable year, which saw her win five World Cup gold medals, three World Championships medals (one gold and two silver), plus the overall women’s K1 world cup title.
“It is an honour to win this award and it has been such a great season for me,” Jessica said.
“I had some ups and downs, but taking the overall World Cup win (kayak) and backing up the world title in the Kayak Cross (formerly known as extreme slalom), I was really happy with my performances.
“It’s also left me hungry to improve on the areas that I can see there is still more to learn and more for me to give.”
Almost 18 months on since winning gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Jessica said it has been business as usual despite the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024 only being 18 months away.
“Coming off an Olympic year, with a big build up especially with the delay, it was really different to other years,” Jessica said.
“It’s not that I didn’t have expectations this year but it was a year of trying new things, getting on the start line and putting down the best runs that I could.
“Next year, 2023, is when it starts to build back up again and we look forward to things like Olympic qualification, so it will be a different year next year,” she said.
“It’s been a great 12 months and it’s cool to be here tonight and to celebrate the whole world of paddling, which is what we all love to do at the end of the day – and it’s not just us on the sprint course, it’s slalom, and it’s the adventure stuff too,” she said.
Paddle Australia President Andrea McQuitty said it was a great celebration of the Australian paddling community.
“I think this year has been the year of bringing paddlers back together across state and international borders, and it’s fantastic to have members from our diverse paddling community together for the awards this evening,” McQuitty said.
“It’s incredible to see how well our paddlers have performed on the international stage after such a long break.
“We’ve been absolutely blown away by the results of the women’s in the canoe sprint program, Jess’s (Fox) success in Canoe Slalom, but also (our success) in stand up paddle boarding, where Michael Booth won two World Championship titles, it’s been an extraordinary year,” she said.