Fox eyeing another golden cycle ahead of Tokyo after World Rowing Championships glory
Every athlete wants domination in their sport and a winning margin of 23 seconds is exactly that, yet James Fox insists his crew are only just getting started.
Fox, Paralympic champion in the mixed coxed four in Rio last year, won his fourth successive world title in the same boat in Sarasota on Saturday with his crew controlling the race from start to finish.
Having won their heat by 21 seconds, Fox and his crew – Rio teammate Grace Clough, Giedrė Rakauskaitė, Ollie Stanhope and cox Anna Corderoy – upped the ante in the final, cruising to gold ahead of the USA.
Their journey to Florida was hardly the norm, however, only put together as a crew eight weeks prior to the start of the championships.
But they took it in their stride and that’s something Fox insists makes them stand out from the rest – and he’s confident more success is headed their way if they stick together.
“This year has been a bit of a tough year, we only got together eight weeks ago, so to be that commanding over a 2k course is really positive and promising for the next three years,” he said.
“One of the things I think I do well is keep calm, there’s a lot of youngsters in here with a lot of potential, all they need to do is harness it.
“The new guys have done really well – to win by that much is a team effort – no one can do that themselves, nor have they ever been able to. You have to come together as a crew.
“And for these guys to step in and maybe seven weeks later, win the championships by 20-25 seconds, is really positive and credit to them.
“We trial for new crewmates every year, so it’s possible that we might not be together next year. I might not be in the boat, or some of these guys might not be in the boat, it’s that nip and tuck.
“If we stay together as a crew, hopefully that will be really promising – we could have a nice three years and hopefully have another golden Paralympiad, but anything can happen.”
"To win by that much is a team effort – no one can do that themselves, nor have they ever been able to. You have to come together as a crew." James Fox
From Paralympic gold to another World Championship title, it’s been a year to remember for Fox – but he admits it hasn’t been as glorious as it seemed from afar.
While realising a lifelong dream is a momentous occasion, it can leave athletes wondering what is next, but Fox insists the fire in his belly is roaring once again.
“Everyone sees the Rio final and sees the gold medal, the smiles, but in reality I didn’t really enjoy last year,” he said.
“It was a tough one for all of us, the weight on your shoulders was huge and it’s really hard to perform under that, but you have to do that every four years.
“You wonder why you are doing it. You’re lifting weights, with a gold medal, knowing it’s four years until you could get the next one.
“You do think about what else what you can do with your life, but those moments are just that, you’re quickly thinking about everything else and you maintain that motivation.
“Then you win races like you did this week and it becomes really exciting all over again, that fire is lit up and you realise what you’re doing.”
Photo: Naomi Baker