A sports fanatic, workaholic, former undercover police officer and Multiple Sclerosis advocate, Carol Cooke 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 incapacitated. She defied the odds. By 2001 she was using a wheelchair full time. However, through regular exercise and Botox injections in her legs, 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 narrowly missing out on a position on the Beijing 2008 team and placed 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 claimed 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. As of 2015 she has earned her World Champion stripes and is a 5 x World Champion, finishing 2016 ranked #1 in the World. At the 2016 Rio Paralympics she won 2 Gold medals.
Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998, Carol has dedicated her working life to raising awareness and funds for MS. She developed and still leads 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 15 events and raised in excess of $7.3 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.
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 through her work as an inspiring motivational speaker telling of her incredible life story.
Carol travels from Melbourne