The countdown is on for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which begin August 5 to 21. While the occasion might strike you as a delightful surprise or a total non-event each olympiad, the event dictates how Australia’s elite young athletes live the entirety of their lives. Ahead of the Games, GRAZIA spoke with one such athlete, French-born Australian world champion slalom canoeist and Olympic silver medallist Jessica Fox.
Born in Marseille, Fox, 21, has been selected to represent the country in her second Olympic Games having made her debut at London 2012, where she won silver in the K1 event at just 18-years-old. At the unveiling of Australia’s Olympic uniform produced in association with Sportscraft, Fox – whose parents Richard and Myriam were both Olympian canoeists and world champions – reflects below on the most important piece of advice they’ve ever given her and how it keeps her grounded ahead of her second appearance on an especially turbulent world stage.
“I’m so proud to be able to represent Australia again. My parents used to kayak and I grew up by the riverbanks just playing with rocks while they were coaching and training. So remembering that, and now looking on toward Rio, is very exciting. I think it’s just the most special sporting event.
“I take risks every day in my performance. Some pay off and some don’t, so those affect my results and in turn, they affect everything. I’m in a sport where you come up against the elements – white water rapids – so you’ve got to take risks all the time. I think now that it’s starting to come naturally to me. That said, I’ve had a few injuries and races that didn’t go quite as planned but you just need to evaluate what happened – really dig into it, even if it’s unpleasant to go through everything. It’s important that you’re able to learn from that.
“My life has changed a great deal since London, after winning silver it has been very different. Success to me now is still very much about putting down the best race that I can and making the most of my potential. Now I have media commitments, sponsor commitments, things like that. I’m in a small sport so it’s not something that I would consider normal in my life, I guess. But my family are always there to keep me grounded. They’re always reminding me of who I am, and if it ever gets too much they’re they to support me and help me out wherever needed.
“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’.”
Tile image: Courtesy of Sportscraft
Cover image: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images