Australia’s Fox takes canoe slalom gold with silver for Team GB’s Franklin

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<span>Photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters

Hot favourite Jess Fox finally won the Olympic gold she craved after a thrilling final run in the canoe slalom.

The Australian, widely considered the best individual female paddler in history surged down the course to put clear water between herself and Britain’s Mallory Franklin in the silver-medal position by more than three seconds.

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At the end of her run, Fox, the world No 1, celebrated after striking gold in the first ever Olympic women’s C1 competition, following a silver medal in 2012’s K1 event, bronze in Rio, and a bronze earlier this week in Tokyo.

Franklin became only the second British woman to win a medal in Olympic canoe slalom. The 27-year-old is a former world champion and multiple medallist at all levels but had been denied a shot at Olympic glory before the category was included for the first time here.

And Franklin took her chance superbly, posting a brilliant run and then watching all her rivals fail to overtake her until Fox took to the water last.

Helen Reeves, who took bronze in the K1 in Athens in 2004, was Britain’s only previous medallist.

Franklin, from Windsor, had qualified fastest from the heats but a mistake on an upstream gate during her semi-finals saw her through to the final in sixth.

Mallory Franklin
Mallory Franklin pictured during her silver-medal winning final run. Photograph: Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock

The four paddlers before her all posted disappointing times but Franklin was smooth and fast from the start, with her only mistake coming when she picked up a two-second penalty for hitting gate 15.

She took gate 19, which had caught her out in the semi-finals, perfectly and crossed the line with the second fastest time of the competition, marginally outside her heat run.

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