Paddling icon Jessica Fox finally claims Olympic gold

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 29: Jessica Fox of Team Australia reacts after her run in the Women's Canoe Slalom Semi-final on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 29: Jessica Fox of Team Australia reacts after her run in the Women's Canoe Slalom Semi-final on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Relief for the Australian as she finally claims an Olympic title in the inaugural women's canoe slalom with Britain's Mallory Franklin winning silver and Germany's Andrea Herzog the bronze.

Australia's canoeing legend Jessica Fox slapped in the water in delight after a masterclass in canoe slalom, the first time the event has been a discipline for women at an Olympic Games. The four-time world champion in this event (C1), who was disappointed to win bronze in the kayak slalom two days ago, was delighted with her clean run in a time of 105.04, which was 3.64 seconds ahead of second-placed Brit, Mallory Franklin (108.68).

Franklin, who still would not have won gold even without her two-second penalty such is the talent of the Australian, was herself 2.45 seconds ahead of bronze medallist Germany's Andrea Herzog (111.13).

“I was so proud of the girls in the final," said Fox after the race on how she felt being the last one to head down the rapids. "I was sitting, warming up, and I could see that Mallory had put down a good time, that Andrea had put down a good time and I just thought, wow, how crazy to be here in the first Olympic final for the women’s C1, and for it to be such a great show.

“I was just thrilled to be part of that, and I knew I had to do the best run that I could, no mistakes, just piece it together the whole way down and hold it together. I was full of emotion at the finish line to have done that.”

“It was really cool," said Franklin after the race. "(It was) so stressful being sat up there on the start line but I had a moment where I was like, ‘This is actually really cool, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.’

"The camera was panning round me and I caught a glimpse and smiled, it just reminded me of the environment and how crazy it all is, but it’s just really cool."