Tuesday 13 December National Performance Director (sprint and slalom) Richard Fox announced his departure from (first the AIS and later) Australian Canoeing after five Olympic cycles.
Dear Athletes, Friends and Colleagues,
As 2016 draws to a close, the time has come for me to say, thank you and goodbye. Also, to congratulate and pass the paddle to the new National Performance Director at Australian Canoeing, Shaun Stephens [media release Australian Canoeing]. Well done, Shaun, on winning the role and good luck for the future!
After 19 years working in high performance sport in Australia, 11 years at the AIS and 8 at AC, I would first like to thank AC, the AIS, the AOC, APC and other sport system stakeholders for such a privileged opportunity and for their long standing support. Australia has been good to us, thank you, again.
In looking back, I remain proud of what we as a sport have achieved since 1998: from the construction of the Penrith Whitewater Stadium and successful inclusion of slalom in Sydney 2000; to the innovative collaboration with system partners and the growth of our national training centres; to the development of women’s canoeing; the continued success of our surf to kayak connection; the spectacular growth of paracanoeing; and, ultimately, our performances at multiple world championships and Olympic Games, not forgetting our first Paralympics success.
Podium or not, our performances in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio were as outstanding as they were memorable, reflecting the exceptional effort and dedication of our athletes, coaches and support staff.
Meanwhile, our Paralympic athletes burst onto the podium in Rio in a manner that casts no doubt about the immense value of para sport to our organisation and our nation. Australia, along with Great Britain and France, was one of only 3 nations to win medals in sprint, slalom and paracanoeing at Rio 2016.
Sport is about more than medals at the Games and I will not forget the efforts of all of our athletes and coaches at every level and their contribution to the sport and Team. Our athletes’ ability to unite, inspire and engage others in the wider community has never been greater.
Our achievements have come through the great work and dedicated support of many others, sport professionals and countless volunteers behind the scenes, and I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a passionate team of people, on and off the water. Thank you all.
It has been a great paddle with a few rapids and waterfalls along the way to make it more exciting! I can now look forward to the New Year with great hope and optimism for those in the sport and for my life outside Australian Canoeing.
I wish you all the very best for 2017 and beyond.
See you on the water!