Biography of Riley Fitzsimmons: Career, Olympics, and Wife

Riley Fitzsimmons, 27, is an Australian sprint canoeist. He participated in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics in the men’s K-4 1000-meter competition.

In Tokyo 2020, he competed in the men’s K-2 1000-meter and men’s K-4 500-meter competitions. He is now qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Olympian Riley Fitzsimmons’s Early Years

The well-known Australian Olympic athlete Riley Fitzsimmons was born on July 27, 1996, in the town of North Gosford, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. He spent his childhood years growing up with his parents in that same area.

Is Riley Fitzsimmons Married?

Yes, Riley is in a happy married life with his spouse Georgia Miller. At the same time, he is completely focused on preparing himself for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Riley Fitzsimmons with his wife Georgia Miller
Image: Riley Fitzsimmons with his wife Georgia Miller and their dog (Source: Riley’s Instagram)

On November 12, 2023, Riley shared a picture on social media that showed him and his wife Georgia Miller together. This public posting allowed others to see Riley and his married partner Georgia as a couple.

Riley Fitzsimmons started water activities at the age of just 5

He first started doing surf lifesaving activities when he was just 5 years old. Then at age 16, he began paddling surf skis.

Riley has been learning through a training program. As a surf lifesaving champion, he took up kayaking to help improve his surf ski paddling abilities. But away from the water, he has also been a trainee studying carpentry and construction skills.

Watching the Australian men’s kayak team win gold in the K4 event at the 2012 London Olympics inspired young Riley. He dreamed of one day being able to compete at an Olympic Games himself. Four years later, in 2016, that dream became a reality for Riley when he made it to the Olympic Games as a sprint kayaker.

Riley Fitzsimmons with his Family
Image: Riley with his family at his first ever summer Olympics, at Sydney 2000 (Source: Riley’s Instagram) 

Riley credits Australian Olympic bronze medalist Lachlan Tame as his biggest influence and mentor. Tame, an expert kayaker and teammate of Riley’s at Avoca Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, taught him how to properly paddle a kayak.

In the year 2012, with Olympic dreams in mind, Fitzsimmons started kayaking. However, he still continued competing for his Avoca Beach surf lifesaving club as well. In 2018, he won the men’s surf ski world title at the Lifesaving World Championships event.

When I picked up the paddle in 2012 and saw what the London 2012 crew did at the Olympics when they won gold, it lit a fire inside of me and it motivated me to be like those guys, and to chase that kind of achievement.”

he said.

Riley Fitzsimmons’ Major Achievements

In 2015: Riley Fitzsimmons teamed up with partner Jordan Wood. Together they won the gold medal in the K2 1000 meters event at the Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships.

In 2016: This was the year Riley joined the Australian senior national canoe sprint team. The following year, in 2017, he made his debut at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Also in 2016, Riley and Jordan Wood won the first Grand Prix regatta of the season. They defeated the 2015 World Championship silver medalists Lachlan Tame and Ken Wallace, who was a triple Olympian and Riley’s mentor.

At his first Olympics in Rio, Riley finished fourth. He said it was very disappointing and difficult to find the motivation to keep going after giving his full effort but not winning a medal.

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In 2017: However, Riley dug deep and pushed himself to get back in the kayak. At the World Championships that year, he won a gold medal in the K4 1000-meter event along with teammates Wood, Murray Stewart, and Ken Wallace.

In that same year 2017, Riley and Jordan Wood also won a bronze medal together in the K2 1000 meters at the Under 23 World Championships.

In 2019: Riley won his final Under 23 World Championship, taking gold in the K4 500 meters event. He then went on to finish fifth in the K2 1000 meters with partner Wood at the senior World Championships. This fifth-place result secured an Olympic qualification spot for Australia.

Riley Fitzsimmons’ Olympic (2020 and 2016 ) Results

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Riley Fitzsimmons competed in two kayak events. In the Men’s K2 1000-meter event, he placed first in the quarterfinal race. In the heat, he finished third. He then went on to take fifth place in the Final B race. In the semifinal of the same event, Riley ended up in sixth position. For the Men’s K4 500 meters event in Tokyo, Riley’s crew came second in their heat race. They followed that up with a sixth-place result in the final. In the semifinal round, they secured the second-place position.

Four years earlier at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Riley’s best finish came in the Men’s K4 1000 meters event. In the final of that event, his crew earned a fourth-place finish. But in the earlier semifinal round, they had been the top qualifiers in first place.

Riley is living his dream life by pursuing his skills professionally

He has represented Australia at two Olympic Games so far, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Riley is now preparing to compete again on the international stage this weekend at the 2023 ICF World Cup event in Szeged, Hungary.

After the Tokyo Olympics, Riley took a year off from the sport.

“I wanted to step away for a while, and think about resetting my goals and priorities.”

He said

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Not only is Riley looking forward to racing internationally again, but he is excited to wear the famous Australian green and gold uniform once more. He and his teammates are building towards the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

At the upcoming World Cup, Riley’s squad made it to the final race with a chance at winning a medal. Unfortunately, they fell just short, finishing 6th overall with a time of 1:25.025.

“It’s really quite special and a proud moment to pull on the green and gold Australian uniform, that’s for sure.”

Riley says