Jessica Fox is a seven-time world champion slalom canoeist, making her the most successful paddler, male or female, in World Championship history. This summer in Tokyo, Fox, 27, will be competing in her third Olympics — she won silver in the K-1 slalom competition in the 2012 London Olympics, and bronze in the 2016 Rio Games.
Let’s dive into 18 things to know about the French Australian Jewish athlete.
1. Jessica Fox was born June 11, 1994 in Marseille, France. (Making her a gemini, if you were wondering.) Her middle name is Esther.
3. “Both my parents competing in the Olympic Games is something pretty special,” Fox said. “It definitely inspired me to get to this position. Winning a medal is something that you dream [of] and I’m proud to follow in my mother’s footsteps.”
4. When Jessica was 4, her family moved to Australia so her dad, Richard, could become the National Head Coach for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Therefore, she competes for Australia.
5. Her sister, Noémie, is also a slalom canoeist. Here they are:
🌊🚣♀️ The Fox sisters were meant to be Tokyo bound this weekend, chasing Olympic glory.
However something tells us they'll be ready to go in 2021!
🇦🇺🥇 Take a look inside this unique family, who are all chasing that elusive Olympic gold together. pic.twitter.com/kfvFcEhwIm
— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) July 23, 2020
“It’s going to be really hard to not be there because I’ve been at both of the Games she’s been at, so it’s going to be really hard to be watching from behind the screen. But I’ll be cheering for all of our Aussies, they are in great condition for the Games so I’m looking forward to it,” Noémie said.
6. The Fox women (sisters, mom, and grandma) took a “girls trip” to Israel during Rosh Hashanah in 2019:
7. “We were both a bit reluctant to get into the sport,” Jess jokes about herself and her sister. She didn’t always love the sport, but she broke her arm and “a physio encouraged her to do kayaking as rehabilitation. By the time she was 13, the young Australian was beating competitors five years her senior.”
8. Over the past 10 years, Fox has claimed 26 World Cup titles, seven World Championships and two Olympic medals.
9. At the London Olympics at age 18, she won silver, becoming the youngest woman to ever medal in canoe slalom — and the second Australian Jewish athlete to ever win an Olympic medal.
10. Her mom, Myriam, is her coach.
11. During the pandemic, she moved back home with her parents. “My mum is my coach, so it’s pretty easy to see her in the kitchen and we have a chat, but obviously without the whitewater, it’s difficult to have anything to really coach at the moment,” she explained. “I needed to set myself into a new normal — a new routine. So waking up and having a few things I do every morning that get me into a good state of mind, and excited about the day and ‘what can I achieve today?’ and I’m actually finding that my days are going by pretty quickly.”
Here’s a great video of their relationship:
12. Her grandma was staying with them during quarantine, and Jessica spent time learning her recipes. “I’m just trying to make the most of her being with us and learning all her recipes and trying new things too. I’ve made a few good cakes and chocolate fondants which have been delicious,” she told ESPN. “And I tried making bagels, but I used the wrong flour, so they turned out pretty miserably.” (She also tried her hand at challah.)
13. Jessica loves a #dogselfie:
(There are a ton on her Instagram.)
14. She would love if the Olympic village could have therapy dogs: “In the Olympic village that would be great if they could have a few dogs there. A few pups to de-stress.”
15. “I think you always need to respect the river because the river is so powerful. You don’t want to fight against it. You want to go with the water, you want to use the flow and use the energy of the water to save your energy for when you might need it more. You’ve got to realize that it’s stronger than you, and you need to use it smartly,” Jessica says on respecting the river while she competes.
16. She is dating French paddler Mathieu Biazizzo:
17. For Jess, canoeing is a “form of art.” She continues, “It’s artistic, it’s poetic, it’s graceful and it’s playful. We play with the features. You want to be able to dance on the water, you want to use your body in conjunction with the water to get as much speed and power as possible.”
18. “The most important piece of advice my mum ever gave me was just to ‘Keep it simple and do what you know how to do’. It’s basic, but some things you just need to be reminded of when things get crazy and you just need to go, ‘Wait, I need to bring it back to basics,'” Fox said.
Bonus: A custom Jessica Fox trading card, just for you!!