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Paddler Jessica Fox takes gold in historic win

Kamahl Cogdon, July 29, 2021 9:00PM Kids News

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Australian Jessica Fox with her gold medal after winning the first women’s C1 canoe slalom event in Olympic history. Picture: Getty Images media_cameraAustralian Jessica Fox with her gold medal after winning the first women’s C1 canoe slalom event in Olympic history. Picture: Getty Images


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Australian paddler Jessica Fox has finally achieved her lifetime goal of winning an Olympic gold medal – in an event she pushed for women to be allowed to compete in at the Olympics.

Fox, 27, erased the disappointment of missing gold in the K1 kayak slalom event earlier in the week with a stunning victory in the C1 canoe slalom final on day six of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

It is the first time the women’s C1 has been included in the Olympics, while men have been competing in the C1 since the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany.

Fox has been a strong advocate* for having the women’s event added to the Olympic program in place of the men’s C2, therefore providing equal opportunities to both genders.

Canoe Slalom - Olympics: Day 6 media_cameraJessica Fox competes in the women’s canoe slalom final at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Picture: Getty Images

Her gold was the second for Australia on day six, after swimmer Zac Stubblety-Cook powered home in the men’s 200m breaststroke.

There were also silver and bronze medals in the pool, with Kyle Chalmers second in the men’s 100m freestyle and the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team finishing third.

Fox described her historic win as the hardest thing she’d ever done.

“Everyone who comes to the Olympic Games has pushed themselves, has given it everything, and it’s been a really big five years, a really big last 12 months, and even a big three days,” she said.

“To come back after the kayak was the hardest thing I’ve probably ever done.

“To put down such a good run today, I’m so thrilled.”

media_cameraJessica Fox has a look of determination in the C1 canoe semi-final before taking gold in the final. Picture: AFP

Fox, who has won silver and bronze in previous Olympics and another bronze earlier this week, paddled to victory in a time of 105.04sec.

Stubblety-Cook was the quiet achiever of the Aussie swim team, but not any more. Now, he is an Olympic champion.

The 22-year-old Queenslander produced a phenomenal* last lap to win the men’s 200m breaststroke.

Although he was one of the favourites going into the race, Stubblety-Cook was well back in the pack at the halfway mark and a full body length behind as he turned for the final lap.

Sctreeshoit for ZSC at Olympics media_cameraThis shot shows how far Zac Stubblety-Cook had to catch up as he came in to turn for the final lap. Picture: Channel 7

But he surged home in the final 50m to hit the front and touch the wall in a new Olympic record of 2min 06.38sec.

It is 57 years since an Australian has won the men’s 200m breaststroke at an Olympics. It was also in Tokyo, at the 1964 Games, that 17-year-old Ian O’Brien won the event in a world record time.

Swimming - Olympics: Day 6 media_cameraZac Stubblety-Cook reacts after winning the gold medal in the men’s 200m breaststroke final on day six of the Tokyo Games. Picture: Getty Images

Stubblety-Cook, who until now has not had the high profile of some of his Dolphins teammates, was almost speechless after his win.

“Unbelievable. Lost for words, really,” Stubblety-Cook told Channel 7.

But he did give an insight into his race strategy, confirming that coming home hard was all part of the plan.

“Made it entertaining, right?” he said. “But you know, that’s the way I train and that’s the way I race all the time.”

“I’m just definitely happy that the process paid off.”

media_cameraZac Stubblety-Cook poses with his gold medal after the final of the men’s 200m breaststroke. Picture: AFP

Chalmers came within a fingernail of gold in the men’s 100m final, the event he won at the Rio Games in 2016.

He looked as though he was going to overtake the leader, Caleb Dressel from the US, in the final meters of the race but fell agonisingly* short by just six-hundredths of a second. Dressel took the gold with an Olympic record time of 47.02sec.

Tokyo 2020 Swimming Finals Day 06 media_cameraKyle Chalmers collects his bronze medal after the men’s 100m freestyle final. Picture: Alex Coppel

Chalmers’ time of 47.08sec was half a second quicker than his gold medal swim in Rio and an equal personal best, despite having had shoulder surgery earlier this year.

“I did everything in my absolute power to win. Obviously, life’s not always about winning but it is nice, and I executed the race well, and I felt strong and felt good,” he told Channel 7.

“I left absolutely everything in the pool, and did everything I could to do it for my country.”

The women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team of Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Madi Wilson and Leah Neale took bronze behind China in first and the US in second.

China’s time was 7min 40.33sec, the US came in at 7min 40.73sec and Australia at 7min 41.29sec. All three teams bettered the world record of 7min 41.50sec set by Australia at the 2019 world championships.


  • advocate: a person who speaks or writes in support someone or something
  • phenomenal: remarkable, exceptional
  • agonisingly: causing a lot of mental or physical pain


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  1. How many times as the women’s C1 canoe slalom been in the Olympics?
  2. What colour medal did Jessica Fox win earlier this week in the K1 event?
  3. Which event did Zac Stubblety-Cook win gold in?
  4. What medal did Kyle Chalmers’ win in the 100m freestyle?
  5. What medal did the Australian women’s 4x200m relay team win?


1. Commentary Box
Find some video footage of Zac Stubblety-Cook’s race. Play the video with the sound on mute. Give your own commentary for the race, creating excitement and describing how the race is playing out.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education; Drama

2. Extension
Set a timer for 5 minutes. In that time, brainstorm as many adjectives and adverbs (describing words) as you can that apply to this event. See how many amazing vocabulary choices you can come up with. When you are done, repeat the above commentary exercise. Can you make your commentary more interesting by using some of the adjectives and adverbs that you brainstormed?

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education; Drama

Olympic Word Splash
Let’s create a word splash. Sit with a partner, and between you, write the word OLYMPICS in the middle of a piece of paper.

Decide who goes first. Then take it in turns to write a word around the central word that you associate with the Olympics.

Keep a tally of how many words you can come up with. Your partner can challenge you to justify how or why the word is associated with the central word.

Did you come up with any wow words that you should share with your class and add to the Vocabulary display? Can you use them in a sentence?

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