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July 6, 2021 11:31 am

Top-Ranked Jewish Australian Canoe Athlete Takes Mom as Her Coach to Tokyo Olympics

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi, left, and her daughter Jessica Fox. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Australian canoe slalom athlete Jessica Fox is heading to the Tokyo Olympics this summer with her mother, who doubles as her coach, Kveller reported last week.

The 27-year-old Jewish athlete, a two-time Olympic medalist, will be competing in Tokyo in July for Australia’s canoe slalom team. Canoe slalom is timed event in which athletes race a whitewater course through a series of upstream and downstream gates.

The athlete’s father, Richard, competed in canoe slalom for the United Kingdom in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and her mother, Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi, won a bronze medal in the same sport at the Atlanta Games in 1996. Jessica’s younger sister, Noemie, is also a canoe slalom athlete and most recently competed in the U23 World Championship.

Jessica’s mother has been coaching her and her sister since they got started in the sport and Jessica is now ranked number one in the world in the women’s division, according to the International Canoe Federation.

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Jessica said in 2018, “I think when your mom’s your coach, it’s a very special relationship. She has to wear two hats: she has to be the coach, she has to be the mom, and provide the support, and also be able to bring out the best in me. And there are no shortcuts. That transparency and honesty that we have with each other is really important.”

At 18, Jessica became the youngest woman to earn a medal in canoe slalom at the London Olympics in 2012 when she took home the silver, according to Kveller. She went on to win bronze in 2016 at the Rio Olympics, and won her seventh individual senior world title at the Slalom World Championships in 2018. She was also named Jewish Sportswoman of the Year by Maccabi Australia in 2014.

A record number of female athletes — 254 in total — will be a part of the Australian Olympic team. In August, Jessica told Women’s Health Magazine Australia about being a part of the historic team, “I’ve had a lot of time to reflect over the past year and it’s just amazing to be part of this group and have the opportunity to sit on that start line knowing all the women who came before us and fought for us to be there, but who never had the opportunity themselves. Tokyo will be a very special moment.”

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