It was shortly after the Rio Paralympics and I had been doing a lot of media and talks about winning my Gold medals.  On this particular day I was going to head to Monash University and as an alumni they wanted to do some filming with me and my medals but I had to do some training first.  I had head to the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) located at Albert Park Lake for an early ride with my St Kilda Cycling Club members.  I had parked the car I had borrowed right in front of the building knowing that although it was early 5:30 a.m. there would be a staff member there by 6 a,m. and I got ready to go for my ride.

My trike was in the back of the station wagon and as there was nowhere to hide my bag, with my Rio gold medals in the bottom of it, I stuck it in the footwell of the car on the front passenger side just before I unloaded my trike.  Then I left the parking lot at 5:41 a.m.  I had a great ride with the girls and as I made my way back into the parking lot I could see a number of staff and athletes standing out front of the building starring at the broken window on the passenger side of the car.

I had made one mistake that morning and although I had put the bag in the footwell before I got to the parking lot I decided just as I was getting out of the car to place my VIS jacket over the top of the bag.  Unfortunately, a local criminal watched me do this and within 19 minutes of me leaving and the first staff member arriving he had smashed the window, reached in and grabbed whatever I had put my jacket over.  He pulled my jacket and the bag out the window and took off.

I went through all the things that you go through when someone has stolen your property.  I called banks to cancel cards and I called the police.  The VIS marketing people called the press to alert them gold medals had been stolen.

It was a short time later as I was waiting for the police to arrive, the ABC and Chanel Seven crews arrived.  The Seven News cameraman asked me why I wasn’t upset, why I wasn’t stomping around and swearing.  I can tell you that some of those thoughts were going through my head.  I told him that it wouldn’t do me any good.  It certainly wouldn’t turn the clock back to stop the theft from happening and it wouldn’t change the situation.  I also explained to him that I had found my ‘Inner Gold’ when I won them and even having them stolen could never take that accomplishment away from me.

Fast forward 3 weeks later when I received a call from a Detective in northern Melbourne telling me they had found my medals.  I had let go of ever having them back and then suddenly they had come back to me.  I do believe that when bad stuff happens to us if you let it go then things do come back to us.  It was then that I realised that finding our own inner gold is similar in a lot of way to actually making gold.  So I came up with 7 steps for you to find your own ‘Inner Gold’;

  1. Know what your gold looks like – just like miners who look for gold, they have to dig deep and know what they are looking for. So you too have to know what your gold looks like, dig deep within your own heart to find out what it is that you truly desire or dream of.
  2. Set specific goals – making gold isn’t easy, miners have to drill holes in a pattern set out by engineers. Just like us we have to have a specific set of goals in order to train and fuel our bodies and minds to have the stamina to succeed.
  3. Find the right coach or mentor – Engineers know exactly where the veins are thanks to geologists who study ore samples, so in order to find a way to find our way to accomplishing our dreams we need to find the right coach or mentor who knows what it means to succeed and can help us along the right path.
  4. Understand your weaknesses and how to work on them – Gold isn’t pure and mined ore has to be – processed to isolate the gold, just like no one is perfect at what they do. You have to enter into a process to isolate weaknesses that need to be worked on.
  5. If you fail, get back up and make changes as necessary – Gold does not become gold after just one process. It goes through crushing rocks, being ground to a pulp, chemicals and water added through more processes and put under extreme heat.  Finding our own inner gold you have to remember that failing at one step does not make you a failure, it can take years of getting back up, re-evaluating your progress and making changes as necessary.
  6. Work on those 1% issues and think outside the box. – Gold takes about 4 minutes to solidify and another hour to cool completely and even then it is only 80% pure. Then the mint will refine it to 99%.  For us we can work until we are at that 80%, then it is all about the little one percenters.  It’s important to think outside the box to find those 1%.  When you put effort and heart into realising that one dream, that hard work will result in skills that help you achieve others.
  7. Never focus on the negative – Never let the odds of success be your focus because anything is possible. A metric tonne of ore usually only yields 6.5 grams of gold.  So I am a good example of where anything is possible because to compete at the Paralympics is a 1 in 1.75 million chance.  Always find a positive no matter what, even if it is a small positive.

It all comes down to effort versus outcome! ~ Carol Cooke AM


About the author : CarolC


  1. Ellie Kennedy 01/11/2020 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your very wise words!!

    • CarolC 01/11/2020 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      You are more than welcome! Hope you are staying safe in these crazy times. xx

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