Joshua Riker-Fox


" I love the challenge and variety. The nature of the sport pushes you in so many directions. Pentathlon also gives you opportunities to train and compete with sport specialists, and to develop friends in a variety of different environments. It is very fulfilling to be an all-rounded athlete. "

Personal Background

Sport-Related Background

  • National team
    member since:2002
  • Club:Ares Pentathlon Club
  • Head coach:John Hawes
  • Local Coach:Denis Fournier
  • Swim coach: Jamie Connors (Patriots Swim Club)
  • Run coach:Doug Lamont (University of Calgary Athletics Club)
  • Fencing coach: Denis Fournier
  • UIPM Profile: click here

Interview Questions

The moment or success you are most proud of in your sporting career thus far?

Qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. This was so special, as it represented much work, investment, and my dedicated approach. Standing on the podium, with my family watching, this is the most memorable moment in my career thus far.

How often do you train (per week or month)?

Fence: 3x week, Swim: 6x week, Ride: 3x week, Run: 4x week, Shoot: 3x week

Of the five sports of pentathlon (fencing, swimming, equestrian, shooting and running), which do you consider your best?

I think I am evenly-skilled amongst the five. I’ve spent a great deal of time riding and this was my first sport. Perhaps it is a strength.

Why do you love the sport of pentathlon?

I love the challenge and variety. The nature of the sport pushes you in so many directions. Pentathlon also gives you opportunities to train and compete with sport specialists, and to develop friends in a variety of different environments. It is very fulfilling to be an all-rounded athlete.

What is the toughest aspect of Pentathlon that many people may not recognize?

Because we are not a huge sport in Canada, our notoriety and funding is nil. With respect to the international level of the sport, it creates a nearly insurmountable uphill obstacle. The international level is high, with World Cups bringing upwards of 100 athletes per gender. Few sports can claim this. I said “nearly” though - but not impossible. I would love pentathlon to receive a broader degree of attention, as this would correlate to funding and a stronger national federation. When your competitors are salaried athletes making significant income, it creates a major imbalance. Add this to the fact that our “real” careers are on hold, and a situation requiring delicate and careful thought emerges. Somehow we do it, but it is 100% fuelled by passion.

When did you got involved in pentathlon and why?

At 11, when I found about Tetrathlon through the Pony Club. This led to me trying Pentathlon, and joining the Calgary club.

Do you participate in other sports?

Volleyball on occasion, but that’s about it for now.

Do you have any pre-competition superstitions (i.e. one athlete always sits in the same seat on the bus on the way to competition, or one always listens to same song)?

No real rituals. Just keep it chill and focus on my job. I listen to music and try to stay focused. I am very introverted.

I carry a small piece of a deer’s hoof that a first nation elder told me I needed. And I have a small bead that an Egyptian athlete gave me 8 years ago as a good luck charm.

Are there any awards, prizes, bursaries you have won?

Twice Academic All-Canadian, a few academic/athletic scholarships – Rutherford, Jason Lang, Jimmie Condon

Advice you would give to someone who might be interested in or has just started competing in pentathlon?

Give it a try, it’s a lot of fun.

How has being an athlete benefited you (positive effects in your life that you would not have had otherwise)?

I’ve learned to lose and I’ve learned to win. These are major life lessons with lasting effects.

In the moments when I doubt that I want to continue, how do I motivate myself?

I try to reflect on how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to pursue my dream. And I realize that I owe it to my family and myself to work in earnest now to try to make my dreams come true.

Athlete you admire most? (Past or present)

Laurie Schong – he was the first Canadian to qualify for the same Olympics in two sports - Pentathlon and Fencing

Are there any other athletes in your family?

Everyone is active in my family. And my brother Joel, was an avid triathlete.

What is your favourite Olympic moment or motivation?

The 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary were an inspiration. As well, meeting some of the athletes that went to the 1992 Olympics for pentathlon motivated me a lot. I knew I wanted to be an Olympian then. I have a lot of great memories. Simon Whitfield’s finish in Beijing was amazing, Vancouver 2010 was great (I was there for four days!), for some reason the 1996 opening ceremonies hit me hard, Silken Lauman!

Personal Interests

Education (are you in high school, trade school, university or have you finished)?

Bachelor in Commerce and Kinesiology - University of Calgary Currently working on my MBA.

What career would you like to pursue or are you currently pursuing?

Sport Management and Marketing

Future goals (in sport & or work)?

To qualify for another Olympic team and continue to represent Canada. I want to contribute to Canada’s continued development in Pentathlon. Then, I would like to play a major role, career-wise, in sports administration in Canada.

Do you do any volunteer work?

  • Athlete Representative on Pentathlon Canada Board
  • Member of the YES (Youth Education through Sport) initiative at the Candian Sport Centre Calgary and a presenter for the annual KidsCAN School Day. 
  • Member of the AthletesCAN Board of Directors.
  • I speak in many school in the Calgary-area about positive living and positive life choices.
  • I volunteer with the Ares Pentathlon Club, trying to help the club’s activities and support the young athletes.

Greatest challenge you have faced:

Performing in this sport with no financial support and weak infrastructure/leadership.

What are your hobbies?

Reading, riding, spending time with friends and family.

Who is your biggest fan?

Without hesitation: my parents - they’ve believed in me from the beginning. Coming from a non-funded sport, my whole career has been a financial challenge. My parents supported me when things were bleak and they always believed.

My community – Delacour has hosted many fundraisers. Without them, I would have not qualified for Beijing.

My big sponsors – John Thompson at Lake Bonavista Dental in Calgary – again, without whom I would not be able to compete now. He has sponsored me since 2002. adamlabs – Steve Adam. Real Fournier – Real Fournier Art

My coaches are super and I’m indebted to them as well.

What is your favourite quote?

  • “Dream it, Train it, Live it” (Tom Ponting)
  • “Stay in touch with the boy who dreamed the impossible dreams” (Hugh Hefner)
  • “You can’t build a repuation off what you are going to do tomorrow” (Henry Ford)
  • “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises” (Demothsenes)

Favourite book?

The Power of One

Favourite song & or band?

Jay Z – Young Forever

Favourite movie?

Spartacus

Favourite meal?

Sushi

If I were an animal, I would be a ___________ because…

Coyote – Always on a mission, always moving forward searching. But throughout, mostly a lonely pursuit to survive.

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