Born: January 19, 1975 in Townsville, Australia
Category: Beach Female Player
For five-time Olympian Natalie Cook, success started with a dream, passion and sheer determination. A visionary in every aspect of life- sport, business and relationships - Cook is the only athlete (male or female) to compete in all five Olympic Games in beach volleyball since the introduction of the sport at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. She is also the first Australian female to compete in five consecutive summer Olympics in any sport.
Cook captained the Australian Indoor Junior Team in 1992 and in 1993 she transitioned to playing beach volleyball. Just one year later she decided to turn professional and gave up her pursuit of a medical degree.
In her years on the pro circuit, Cook has wins in both domestic and international tournaments including five national championships victories, 135 International events played, 26 podium finishes and 42 final-four finishes. Her 165 International FIVB events played is the most of any female player.
In 1996, Cook teamed up with 2007 Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee Kerri Pottharst to become one of the most dominant teams. The "dynamic duo" won bronze in the inaugural Olympic Games beach volleyball event in 1996 after defeating three teams from the United States. The pair followed that performance with gold at the 2000 Sydney Games in front of a wildly partisan home crowd. The duo posted a 5-0 mark at the 2000 Olympics and were presented the Order of Australia, their home country's highest honor. Afterwards, Cook and Pottharst were included in the FIVB's Team of the Decade.
Cook earned the bronze medal at the 2003 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships playing with Nicole Sanderson and the pair went on to finish fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Cook later partnered with Tamsin Hinchley in the next two Olympics in 2008 and 2012.
In addition to her sporting career, Cook is active on the public speaking circuit, has written motivational books and launched Sandstorm, which is her own beach volleyball-related business that provides opportunities for others to achieve their dreams.
As a true ambassador for the sport of beach volleyball, her remarkable longevity and success, as well as for her work in developing the sport away from the sand, we welcome Natalie Cook as a 2013 Inductee to the Volleyball Hall of Fame.