Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Multiple sclerosis
How acquired
Autoimmune disorder
Date of Birth
August 6, 1961
Northcote, VIC
Author, motivational speaker, professional fundraiser and event manager for MS Australia
Started Competing
Games Experience

London 2012


Australian marathon swimmer Tammy van Wisse

Career Highlights

Winning gold in the mixed T1-2 time trial at London 2012

Greatest Moment

Seeing a friend light the Olympic flame for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal (country of Origin)


Sports fanatic, workaholic, former undercover police officer and multiple sclerosis advocate, Carol Cooke is one of the most inspirational figures in Australian sport.

Having worked undercover with the drug squad in her native Canada for 14 years, Carol was devastated when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the young age of 36 in 1998.

She was told she should return to Canada before she became incapacitated and that she would never walk again. By 2001, Carol was using a wheelchair full time, but though regular exercise and Botox injections in her legs, Carol now not only walks but cycles and rows at a national level.

A former national swimmer in Canada, Carol’s aim was to represent her country at the highest level possible – the Olympic Games. In shape and on track to achieve her goal, the Canadian Team boycotted the Moscow 1980 Games, so when she took up rowing in 2006 after being identified at a Paralympic Talent Search day, her dream of representing her country was reignited.

She proved a natural on the water and placed sixth at the 2009 World Rowing Championships, narrowly missing out on a position on the Beijing 2008 team.

Not one to give up, Carol transferred to cycling at the suggestion of fellow rower/cyclist Alex Green, with a view to making the London 2012 team. She made the Australian team for the 2011 UCI Para-cycling World Championships, racing the house down to
claim silver in both the road race and road time trial.

Her imposing form, which included dual victories in the road race and time trial at the 2011 National Road Championships, continued through to London, where at 51, she won gold in the tricycle class of the individual road time trial and silenced those who said she would never walk again.

Ever since her diagnosis, Carol has also thrown herself into raising awareness for multiple sclerosis. She initiated the 24 hour Mega Swim event, dedicated to raising money for MS and has now expanded the program to run in three states across 27 events.

While working for MS Australia and cycling consume the majority of Carol’s time, Carol is also an accomplished author having published her autobiography, Cycle of Life in April 2015. She believes in daring to face your fears, advice she has successfully implemented in her own incredible life story.

Carol likes to spend time with her family and friends, and in particular, loves looking after her new grandson. In a nod to her former career, she likes to watch Law and Order and any other crime shows she can sink her teeth into.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Road race Classification: T2
  • Sport: Cycling Disciplines: Road time trial Classification: T2