KAYAK CROSS

Fox sisters set for Paris Olympics

In Prague last Sunday, Myriam, Jessica and Richard were all there to witness another priceless milestone – Noemie’s finest moment in the sport so far.

Proud as punch: Noemie Fox (front) with (from left) her mum Myriam, Australian kayak cross coach Titouan Dupras, her sister Jessica and dad Richard. 
Photo: Instagram
Proud as punch: Noemie Fox (front) with (from left) her mum Myriam, Australian kayak cross coach Titouan Dupras, her sister Jessica and dad Richard. Photo: Instagram

There are family moments and then there are next-level Fox family moments!

Back in 2021 in Tokyo, when world number one canoe slalom women’s athlete Jessica Fox won her first Olympic gold medal for Australia at her third Games, she embraced her mum and coach Myriam and her younger sister Noemie, in a moment of pure joy, while father Fox, Richard, was commentating on it all, live on Australian TV.

In Prague last Sunday, Myriam, Jessica and Richard were all there to witness another priceless milestone – Noemie’s finest moment in the sport so far.

The 27-year-old – at the end of an eight-month qualification journey that came down to her performance last Sunday – achieved her own dream of qualifying for her first Olympics, in the new canoe slalom racing discipline of kayak cross which, like her, will debut in Paris 2024.

Jessica, who had already qualified for Paris in women’s single canoe and kayak months ago – events which have a time-trial format – hugged her sister and long-time Australian canoe slalom teammate with all her might, Myriam burst into tears and Richard couldn’t stop smiling.

Noemie Fox (right) in the women’s kayak cross in Prague last Sunday.
Photo: Czech Canoe via ICF

In July, every member of this family of four can call themselves Olympians.

“It’s been a long road to get here and to be on the podium today,” Noemie said.

“Paris has always been a distant dream … knowing there were so many steps to get to this day.

“It’s just incredible to be in this moment now and to know all the hard work has paid off and all those dreams weren’t crazy dreams.

“I never stopped believing – it’s just an incredible dream come true for my whole family.

“She [Jessica] has supported me so much, so to finally be on that Olympic team together, is so special.”

The Olympic arrival of kayak cross meant Australia could earn an extra women’s canoe slalom quota spot, but only if Noemie made the final in Prague and placed in the top three.

Noemie Fox celebrates by hugging a Paris 2024 mascot.

After solid performances in the morning sessions, Noemie found herself in a semi-final up against two world championship medallists and an U23 world champion.

“It was my worst nightmare – the race I really didn’t want,” she recalled afterwards.

Using all her experience and skill, Noemie executed her race plan perfectly, to win that semi.

She had a very nervous moment midway through the all-important final, when at the back of the pack, but pulled off a decisive move at the last gate to finish third and was later elevated to second after a post-race review by officials.

On Instagram on Tuesday, Jessica – the Maccabi Australia Sportswoman of the Year – commented with pride about her sister’s achievement: “She has worked so hard for this and deserves it so much.”

Noemie took the opportunity to thank her family, “and the most incredible team on the ground here with me and all the messages, good luck wishes and hugs [from back home] – you all got me through”.

“A très bientôt [see you soon], Paris!”

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