World Champion Slalom Canoeist Urges Sponsors to Show More Support for Female Athletes

October 16, 2013

Jessica Fox, the world champion slalom canoeist, believes “hardworking” female athletes need more support from the corporate world to fulfil their potential. 

Research from the Australian Sports Commission shows that 10 of the Australia’s 18 current world champions are women. Women also accounted for 57% of Australia’s medals at London 2012, which rose from 38% at the Sydney games in 2000. Despite this, Fox says that both major business and broadcasters in Australia are more interested in male-dominated sports, which creates a catch-22 situation for female athletes.

She said: “At the end of the day if we don’t show female sports on TV, how are sponsors going to want to sponsor women?

“And if we don’t support the women how do you expect us to get results? It’s a bit of a catch-22.”

Fox was able to compete in the London Olympics as a result of government funds and a small local sponsorship from her home suburb of Penrith, Sydney. After winning a silver medal at the Games, she was able to attract her current sponsor, the car manufacturer Kia.

She added: “It’s hard and I’m not the only one who’s probably struggling, because you do feel like the sponsors want to be shown on TV or recognised as well.

“But girls don’t get on TV that often. A lot of them are hardworking girls who are doing the sport because they love it.

“Some of them have to work, most of us are studying. We’re doing the complete balancing act.”