Penrith’s own Jessica Fox OAM is a canoe and kayak world champion, an Olympic success story, an Aussie household name, and an outstanding ambassador for the City.
Penrith City Council has acknowledged the athlete’s achievements and contributions to the community with a plaque unveiling at Penrith Whitewater Stadium earlier this week.
During the ceremony, Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen listed Jessica’s many accomplishments, in particular Jessica’s technically perfect run in the C1 Canoe Slalom final at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where she won an historic C1 gold.
“Penrith is proud of Jess – she is the most successful paddler in history and renowned as the greatest individual paddler of all time,” Cr Hitchen said.
“Last year, she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Australia Day Honours list for her service to sport,” she said.
“Jess has been Penrith’s Citizen of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year – and has worked with Council to help market our City, drive library membership and has inspired many as a guest speaker at a variety of functions.
“Jess continues to take time out of her busy schedule to attend civic events, promote Penrith and her sport.
“So today, we unveil a plaque in honour of Jess – a permanent reminder of her achievements and dedication to a sport and community that respect and adore her.”
Jessica Fox OAM moved to Penrith as a child with her family when parents Richard and Myriam – both champion paddlers – left France to take up a coaching role with the Australian team for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Jessica watched the Games’ canoe slalom event at Penrith Whitewater Stadium long before she started training with Penrith Valley Canoeing. Her achievements now include 38 World Cup gold medals, 9 World Championship titles, and 4 Olympic medals.
Jessica thanked the Mayor and Council for the recognition and for the plaque that will be on display at the venue.
“It is a huge honour to see this and to have my name up on the wall somewhere,” Jessica Fox OAM said.
“I was here as a little six-year-old in the stands – this Whitewater Stadium has been my playground, my workplace, my training ground and race venue; I have spent more than 10,000 hours here,” she said.
“It is a second home and it has been a huge part of my life and my story and my family’s story.”
Next year, Jessica will defend her Olympic C1 crown and strive for the K1 gold at the Paris Olympics.
The Kayak Cross, a new head-to-head format, will make its debut at the Games which could see her chase an historic three gold medals in France, potentially competing against her training partner and sister, Noemie.
The Penrith community will have the chance to see Jessica in action again when the City hosts the International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Championships in 2025.