The greatest paddler of all time has been recognised at the place she spends the most time, Penrith Whitewater Stadium.
On Tuesday morning, Penrith Council honoured Olympic gold medallist Jessica Fox on her outstanding sporting achievements, her contribution to the City as an ambassador for Penrith, her sport, and as an advocate for women in sport by unveiling a plaque in her honour.
Speaking at the unveiling at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said she was excited that Council was able to recognise the most successful paddler in history.
“Today we unveil a plaque in honour of Jess – a permanent reminder of her achievements and dedication to her sport and community that respect and adore her,” Hitchen said.
“This may just inspire the next Penrith paddler to reach for excellence.”
Along with Fox’s family and other dignitaries, Paddle Australia CEO Phil Jones was also on hand for the unveiling, praising the 28-year-old for everything she’s brought to the sport both in here and abroad.
“It isn’t often that somebody gets a chance to have a plaque in the playground that they’ve grown up in and that is what today is all about,” he said.
“I’m very pleased, on behalf of the Board of Paddle Australia, to thank Penrith City Council for this initiative and it’s very well deserved.”
Since her parents landed in Australia more than two decades ago for the 2000 Olympic Games, Penrith Whitewater Stadium has essentially been Fox’s playground, workplace, training ground and race venue.
“I’ve probably spent more than 10,000 hours here,” Fox admitted.
“The Whitewater Stadium is my second home, it’s been a huge part of my life, my story, my family’s story, and a place that I’m very passionate to call home in Penrith.”
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Fox has won countless medals, awards and trophies throughout her illustrious 15-plus year career, but this is the first time she’ll have a plaque recognising her incredible achievements and dedication to Penrith.
“I never would’ve imagined my name would be on a plaque on a wall here, it’s lovely recognition and I appreciate the support I have received from Council and the whole community,” Fox told the Weekender.
“I’m very proud to be from here and proud to have my name up on the wall now moving forward.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.