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Rowing Carol

Carol Cooke at MS MegaSwim with Mayor

Carol Cooke wins World Series

A sports fanatic, workaholic, former undercover police officer and Multiple Sclerosis/Disability advocate, Carol Cooke AM is one of the most inspirational figures in Australian sport.

Carol was born in Canada in 1961. She worked as a Police Officer in Canada for 14 years including 4 years undercover with the drug and prostitution squads. Carol moved to Australia for love and was devastated when diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998 only 3 years into her marriage. Told that she would never work again or compete in sport, she was advised she should put her affairs in order before she became in- capacitated. She defied the odds. By 2001 she was using a wheelchair full time. However, through regular exercise and some medical intervention, Carol not only walks but rows and cycles at an international level.

Carol was a former national level swimmer in Canada, with a goal of going to the 1980 Olympics; the opportunity vanished with the Moscow Games being boycotted. In 2006 she took up rowing, having been identify at an Australian Paralympic Talent Search day. She proved a natural on the water, with the team narrowly missing out on the Beijing 2008 Paralympics but went on to place sixth at the 2009 World Rowing Championships.

Carol switched sports to cycling with a plan to make the London 2012 Paralympic team. In 2011 she made the Australian team for the UCI Para Cycling World Championships. Carol made the impact she had desired claiming silver in both the Road Race and Time Trial. Her form flowed through to the 2012 Australian National Road Championships. Carol achieved her goal when she was named in the Australian Paralympic team for London 2012. In London years of toil paid off. Carol won a gold medal in the Mixed Time Trial T1- T2 event.

She then made the 2016 Rio Paralympics team and went on to win 2 Gold medals in the Women’s T1-T2 Road Race and Time Trial. With the pandemic hitting the entire world in 202, the Tokyo Paralympics were postponed until August 2021. Carol was able to make the team at the age of 60 and won a silver medal in the Women’s T1-T2 Time Trial. Unfortunately in the road race she was involved in a crash and finished the Tokyo Paralympics in hospital.

As of 2019 she has earned the World Champion title 9 times and finished 2019 ranked #1 in the World.

Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998, Carol has dedicated her working life to raising awareness and funds for MS. She developed and after 20 years she retired from leading the operation of the 24 Hour Mega Swim event, dedicated to raising money for MS. The project has now expanded to run in four states across 17 events and raised in excess of $11 million since 2001.

In 2014 Carol was bestowed the honour of being named a ‘Member in the General Division (AM) of the Order of Australia for her Gold medal and her Philanthropic work.

In 2015 Carol’s book ‘Cycle of Life’ was published and was a finalist for Victorian of the Year. In 2016 Carol broke through another barrier and was name ‘Victorian Cyclist of the Year’, taking the award out over even the Pro able-bodied riders. In 2017 Carol updated her book and re-named it “Finding Your Inner Gold”. In 2020 she wrote her second book called ‘The Force Within – from Paralympian to Police Officer’. It was released in all good book stores August 1st this year.

Carol lives with the philosophy that you must dare to face your fears. She has come through adversity and change with persistence and an incredible mindset. It is advice she shares as an expert in accepting change and overcoming adversity through her work as an inspiring motivational speaker telling of her incredible life story.

Carol believes that “nothing is impossible if we dare to face our fears and believe in ourselves” and believes “the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

Carol is an Ambassador For


MS AUSTRALIA

to Advocate, Educate and Motivate


RIAC

Rights Information and Advocacy Centre – a not-for-profit organisation that builds the capacity and wellbeing of individuals, families, carers and communities through advocacy and support services.

If you would like to know more about Carol, her unique story is now in a book!

Finding Your Inner Gold

In this second edition of her original book, ‘Cycle of Life’, Carol shares her secrets to finding your inner gold, overcoming adversity, accepting change, finding your hidden courage and creating a winning mindset. She truly believes that if you dare to face your fears and believe in yourself you can overcome anything.

Buy the Book

Achievements

2021 Silver Medal – Tokyo Paralympics – Time Trial

2019 Australian Female Road Para Cyclist of the Year

2019 Dual World Champion – World Road Para Cycling Championships

2018 Victorian Female Para Cyclist of the Year

2018 Dual Silver Medallist – World Road Para Cycling Championships

2017 Award of Excellence – Victorian Institute of Sport

2017 Australian Female Para Cyclist of the Year

2017 Dual World Champion- World Road Para Cycling Championships

2016 Victorian Cyclist of the Year

2016 Australian and Victorian Female Para Cyclist of the Year

2016 2 x Gold Medallist – Rio Paralympic Games – Road Race and Time Trial

2015 Australian and Victorian Female Para Cyclist of the Year

2015 World Champion Female T2 – Road Time Trial – Silver medallist Female T2 – Road Race

2015 Finalist Victorian Australian of the Year

2014 Victorian Female Para Cyclist of the Year

2014 Dual World Champion Female T2 – Road Race and Road Time Trial

2014 Honoured as a Member – Order of Australia (AM)

2013 Female Sportsperson of the Year – Vic Disability Sport and Rec

2013 Elite Athlete with a Disability- Victorian Institute of Sport

2013 Victorian Cyclist of the Year

2013 Victorian Female Para Cyclist of the Year

2013 Australian Female Para Cyclist of the Year

2013 Dual World Champion Female T2 – Road Race and Road Time Trial

2012 Victorian Female Para-cyclist of the Year

2012 Nominated for Australian of the Year

2012 Gold Medallist – London Paralympic Games – Paracycling – Road Time Trial

2011 Dual Silver Medallist – World Paracycling Championships – Denmark

2011 Minister for Health Volunteer Awards – Commendation

2011-2015 Included in the Who’s Who of Australian Women

2010 Included in the Who’s Who of Australian Women under the category of hope & courage

2009 John Studdy Award, from MS Australia

2008 Included in the Inaugural Who’s Who in Victoria and the Who’s Who of Australian Women

2006 Victorian Masters Sportsperson of the Year Victorian Sports Awards.

2006 Herald Sun Pride of Australia Awards Role Model Category

2003 The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International Named a Paul Harris Fellow

2001 Rotary International Shine on Award – Certificate of Commendation

I invite you to subscribe to my blog which provides snippets from my journey and my thoughts on overcoming adversity, what motivation and commitment can do for your life and how to achieve those dreams you’ve got tucked away.

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