TOKYO (AFP) – Australia’s Jessica Fox won her first Olympic gold medal yesterday in the women’s canoe slalom, an event she pushed to have added to the programme in Tokyo.
Fox, regarded as perhaps the greatest paddler of all time with 10 world titles, claimed an elusive Olympic title as Britain’s Mallory Franklin took silver with Andrea Herzog of Germany earning bronze.
“So much emotion, so much joy, so much builds up to this moment. It’s just incredible,” said Fox.
“I was dreaming of it and I really believed it was within me, I could do it, but you never know what is going to happen in the Olympics.
“It is about holding your nerve and I probably didn’t do that very well in the kayak a couple of days before, so it was hard to get to this point but it has been incredible to do what I did today.”
The 27-year-old Fox had won bronze in kayak slalom earlier in the week, following bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio and silver at London four years earlier.
She campaigned to ensure genders were equally represented in Japan, with women competing in the canoe slalom at the Games for the first time.
“I can’t believe it. I am so proud to be here today in the women’s C1 category and I am so proud of all the women who have raced here and been part of this moment,” said Fox. “(I’m) grateful to all the women, all the coaches, all the people who lobbied for gender equality in our sport.”
Men’s canoe slalom made its debut at the Munich Olympics in 1972, but was then dropped before being reinstated at Barcelona in 1992 and has been a permanent fixture since.