London 2012
Natalie Cook made her debut on the FIVB World Tour at Santos in Brazil, in the 1993-94 season
Cook played in her fifth Olympic Games at London 2012, but was unable to progress beyond pool play
“It changed my life and the day after the final I was on a stamp. Everybody in Australia knew who I was and winning in your own country is something you can never, never understand."
Cook has paired up with Tamsin Hinchley for London 2012 and Beijing 2008
Cook won bronze at Atlanta 1996 and gold at Sydney 2000, both times alongside long-time partner Kerri Pottharst
Nat Cook's longevity on the World Tour has made her one of the most popular players and Australians turned out in force at Horse Guard's Parade to cheer her on

 

Cook backs Walsh and May-Treanor to continue gold run

London, Great Britain, August 3, 2012 – As an Olympic gold medallist from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Nat Cook knows exactly what it takes to top the podium and she expects a couple of familiar faces to be back there following the women’s gold medal match at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Kerri Walsh and Misty-May Treanor succeeded Cook and Kerri Pottharst as Olympic champions at Athens 2004 and then successfully defended their Olympic title at Beijing 2008. Now in London they have gone through pool play unbeaten and while they lost their first every set at an Olympics, Cook is backing them to add a third gold at Horse Guard’s Parade.

“I think Kerri and Misty can do it,” she said. “I think emotionally they will have a five point head start over everyone. I think you’ll see Juliana and Larissa and I think you’ll see the Chinese (Chen Xue and Zhang Xi). They will recover after a shock loss (to Russia’s Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova).

“If you see a European in there, and it will be great for them. I think the Dutch (Sanne Keizer and Marleen van Iersel). They’ve won some events, which I wasn’t expecting.”

Cook’s career came to an end when she and Tamsin Hinchley were eliminated from London 2012 at the end of pool play with a loss to the Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova in their final match.

It brought an end to a glittering career that hit its peak when she and Kerri Pottharst won gold at Bondi Beach. Four years earlier at Atlanta 1996 they won bronze and Cook also has an FIVB World Championship bronze medal in her collection from 2003, when she paired up with Nicole Sanderson.

Sydney memories

For Cook the memories of the Sydney 2000 gold medal match remain as clear as ever.

“I remember it very clearly and I think I will for the rest of my life,” she said. “September 25th, 2000, 2.30 in the afternoon. I remember where the ball landed, where my family was sitting, what emotions I was going through in my body. Standing on top of the podium, singing ‘Advance Australia Fair’, it is the greatest moment an athlete’s career hence I continued to play to try to have that again.

“It changed my life and the day after the final I was on a stamp. Everybody in Australia knew who I was and winning in your own country is something you can never, never understand until it happens. I am now a household name and beach volleyball and Natalie Cook seem to go together.”

With her playing career now over Cook will continue to fight to raise awareness and the opportunity and places for people to play beach volleyball in sports-mad Australia.

Many of the beaches ban ball sports of any kind, meaning that purpose built facilities need to be built, something that Cook and her company Sandstorm are trying to achieve.

The sport will have an excellent opportunity to show itself off to Australia when the Gold Coast hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Cook is a native of nearby Brisbane and hopes that having beach volleyball taking place in Australia will be the incentive for another pair of Australians to win Olympic beach volleyball golds.

“The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, I absolutely want to be a part of that,” Cook said. “I want to build a hub of beach volleyball on the Gold Coast. There is nowhere better in the world to put beach volleyball than the Gold Coast.

“As soon as I get home that will be something I can do. It’s only an hour down the road. We need to win the Commonwealth gold in 2018 to win gold in 2020.”

 

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“I remember it very clearly and I think I will for the rest of my life. September 25th, 2000, 2.30 in the afternoon," Cook can never forget how she won gold at Sydney 2000
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Additional information

Sydney 2000 Olympic Games - gold
Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games - bronze
FIVB World Championships 2003 - bronze
Five consecutive Olympic Games - 1996 to 2012