Jess Fox has finished the international whitewater season ranked No.2 and No.3 in the world in kayak and canoe respectively after a win and a second place in the final World Cup contest of the season in Slovenia.
The Rio 2016 bronze medallist returned to the water in Prague last week and backed up her epic Olympic efforts with a gold in the canoe, then finished her season in style on the weekend with victory in the K1 and silver in the non-Olympic C1 to cap a huge six months.
Sitting in overall third in the K1 and fourth in the C1 ahead of the double points finale, it was just a handful of points that separated Jess from the the No.1 ranking in both categories after five events of the World Cup series.
Even if it weren’t for an unlucky two-second penalty in the C1 which knocked Jess from first to second, she still would have missed out on overall first by the narrowest of margins due to her biggest rivals also finishing on the podium - and the fact she skipped the third round altogether in favour of Olympic preparation.
“I’m really really happy,” Jess said post her K1 victory on Sunday, 24 hours after silver in the canoe.
“Overall, it was a great race and I’m so happy to take the win on that course. It’s really tight and there’s no room for error. So I just gave it everything and I’m happy to take the win.
“On my semi-final run I made a couple small mistakes and wanted to fix those for the final. It’s a tight, fast course and I definitely felt there was no time to waste. It was a charging course.”
By charging, Jess is referring to “the drop”, a steep one metre-plus waterfall start to the race that saw many competitors come undone.
“It’s one of the most challenging courses on the circuit - a 10 second sprint and then the biggest drop on tour,” Jess said.
“There’s a lot of water coming at you really fast, and it gets the adrenalin pumping to go down that big drop. And then you’ve got to get the lines right.”
With the 2016 season now ended, Jess reflected on the successful season that was and is already looking ahead to Tokyo in 2020.
“It’s been a pretty good season overall - consistent,” Jess said.
“I’m happy. It's been one of my best seasons yet with three World Cup wins, four silvers and an Olympic bronze medal. I'm happy with my improvements but I also see room to grow and I'm excited to get started with 2017.
“I’m looking forward to going home and getting a rest and enjoy being home for a while. And practice some more C1 now Tokyo is in sight.
“I feel like I’m starting the next four years to Tokyo.”