Carol Cooke

56-year-old competitive para cyclist and one of the most inspirational figures in Australian sport

One of the most inspirational figures in Australian sport, at 56 Carol is still taking on the world in Para Cycling racing people half her age.  She believes that nothing is impossible, that anyone can overcome adversity and self-doubt to find their inner gold. Carol will have you wanting to tap into your resilience to achieve your biggest dreams, so you too can Find Your Inner Gold.

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 squad. Carol was devastated when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998. By 2001 she was using a wheelchair full time. However, through regular exercise and Botox injections in her legs, Carol not only regained the ability to walk but took up competitive rowing and cycling.

Carol was a former national swimmer in Canada. In 2006 she took up rowing, having been identified at a 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. 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 T1–2 event. In 2013 at the World Para-Cycling Championships Carol became a Dual World Champion, backed it up in 2014 and again won the Time Trial and the silver in the Road Race.

In 2016 at the Rio Paralympics Carol won 2 Gold Medals on the road in the Time Trial and the Road Race. Then again in 2019 she was a dual World Champion, finishing the year No. 1 in the world. Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, 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 Mega Swim has now raised in excess of $10 Million in the last 19 years. In 2014 Carol was honoured with an Australia Day Award being name a ‘Member’ of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to sport and philanthropy.

Carol lives the philosophy that you must dare to face your fears. It is advice she shares through her work as an inspiring motivational speaker telling of her incredible life story.

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