Smart like a Fox

World canoe and kayak champion Jess Fox preps for U-23 World Champs
Jessica Fox Olympic Kayaker © Incite Images/Red Bull Content Pool
By Josh Rakic

Jess Fox is a woman whose strength and success knows no bounds. She’s kicked ass all over the world. She’ll kick your ass and she’s kicked ours. Hell, she’s a dual kayak and canoe world champion not just for her age group – Under-23 – but holds both titles at the peak open level, too.

Barely out of her teens, she’s achieved almost all there is to achieve in professional sport – including an Olympic medal.

But she didn’t become the best in the world by being easily satisfied.

And she’s scoured the globe in the hunt for new competitors to push her beyond her best. And in Brazil, at this month’s Under-23 world championships, she may have just found her newest rival in the form of Brazilian teen Ana Satila – also part of the Red Bull stable.

We caught up with Jess ahead of the trip to get the lowdown on defending her title and more…

RB: Jess! What have you been up to since the Australian Open?
JF: A big block of training! I haven't raced since the Australian Open a few months back but have pumped out a lot of hours on the whitewater and in the gym trying new things and getting stronger. I have also changed kayak designs - from the Galaxy to the Salto. Basically, it means this one turns a lot quicker, so I've been trying out some different techniques and paddling with the guys to learn from them. Overall, it's been a really productive and fun couple of months before the international seasons begins.

RB: The under-23 champs in Brazil are this month! How's your preparation coming and what do you know about the course?
JF: Ah, so soon! I can't believe it's already April! Preparation has been good this summer. I got the chance to train with some great international paddlers and it's been a positive learning curve. At the moment there are quite a few races in Europe that my competitors are racing at. It's making me so excited and I'm just itching to get back on that start line! The course in Brazil is in Foz D'iguacu. I've never been there before but I've seen some videos. It looks smaller than my home course in Penrith but quite swirly and tricky in some parts. I'm looking forward to discovering a new river.

RB: Who are your biggest rivals and why?
JF: Brazilian Ana Satila is 19 and a rising star in the sport and I'm sure that on her home course she will be hard to beat! Apart from Ana, there are some really strong competitors - another Red Bull athlete – there’s a trend here - Viktoria Wolffhardt from Austria, the Czech girls are always strong as wells the Brits. Should be a good race!

RB: Where does the U23 champs rate on your list of goals this year?
JF: The priority this year is the World Championships in September but I’m doing five World Cup events and the under-23 worlds and these will all be really valuable racing experience. The U23 world champs are a really good way to get that start line feeling, experience the pressure of being the favourite, and delivering in a championship event where the stakes are high. I also want to defend my titles so it's still an important goal of mine.

RB: And you're off for training in France and other spots in Europe after that?
JF: That's right. After Brazil, I head to France for around 10 days of training in the south west in Pau where the national French team are based and then I head to London - back on the Olympic course of 2012 for a training camp in preparation of the World Championships in September. Hopefully I can deal with all the different time zones and stay awake! Haha.

RB: And you’ve still got time for uni and a social life somehow? We saw you at F1…
JF: Haha! I like to keep busy and I think it's important to have a good balance. I'm studying psychology and communications online and doing a bit of public speaking every so often as well.
And I’ve found time for some extra “cross training” activities such as taking a ride in a two-seater F1 car at the Grand Prix in March… Haha. It was incredible! Hanging out with some other Red Bull athletes was great fun. It was cool to finally all be in one place to catch up with the girls – Sally, Jordy and the crew.

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