Tokyo Olympic Games canoe slalom gold medallist and NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athlete, Jessica Fox OAM, and NSWIS double world champion para-athlete Lauren Parker reconfirmed their standing as among NSW’s greatest ever athletes when capturing the blue ribbon Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Year with a Disability awards at the rebel NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.

The all-conquering World Championship winning BC3 Boccia pairs team, also NSWIS athletes, of Boccia Daniel Michel/Ashlee Maddern (Ramp operator) and Jamieson Leeson/Amanda Leeson (Ramp operator) earned Team of the Year with a Disability.

It was a special night for the Fox family with Jessica’s mother and coach, Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi, voted Coach of The Year for the first time.

It was the fifth time Jessica was named Sport NSW’s Athlete of the Year having previously won the coveted title in 2013, 2017 and 2018 and was a joint winner with swimmer Cate Campbell in 2021.

Jessica was the K1 Slalom World Champion for the fourth time when winning the event at the 2023 ICF World Championships – her 10th career individual gold medal in canoe slalom. She also teamed with sister Noemie and Kate Eckhardt to capture Australia’s first ever World Championship gold medal in the women’s Kayak Team event.

With one gold, one silver and two bronze medals from her three Olympic Games, 10 individual Canoe World Championship titles, another four team World Championship gold and 11 overall World Cup titles, Jessica is the world’s most decorated canoe slalom athlete of all time.

Guiding these successes was Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi, a two-time Olympian and a Games bronze medallist for her native France. A highly successful coach for over 25 years, Myriam was also honoured by the International Olympic Committee last December when winning the IOC’s Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lauren Parker joins wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley as a four-time winner of Athlete of the Year with a Disability – just one title behind five-time Award winner, wheelchair tennis great, David Hall.

Lauren showed her dominance in both the longer and short forms of para-triathlon completing an undefeated international season culminating in World Championship success in both World Triathlon and Ironman triathlon events.

Lauren then continued to build on her remarkable career becoming a world champion in a second sport, para-cycling, when winning hand-cycling gold in the H3 individual time trial at the UCI World Championships in August.

The Ceremony also saw seven-time world surfing champion, Layne Beachley, AO, become the 24th NSW athlete and the first surfer to be elevated to NSW Legend Status.

Beachley is the first woman to win seven World Championships and she won an eighth world title becoming the first female winner of the WSL World Masters Championship.

The Awards ceremony also saw John Forbes (Sailing), Heather Garriock (Football), Mathew Helm (Diving), Brett Lee (Cricket) and David Palmer, OAM (Squash) inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions. The NSW Hall of Champions is located at Quaycentre at Sydney Olympic Park.

Article courtesy of Sport NSW

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