I can’t believe it’s 14 years ago this month that Sydney hosted the Olympic Games. If you were lucky enough to be in Sydney at that time and had tickets to any of the events you would have some incredible memories to reflect back on.
I was working as an Ambassador for Holden at the time and they were the official automotive partner of the Olympic Games. I’d been working with them for a good 15 years, and over that period they were involved in a number of really exciting sporting events like the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and the Celebrity Challenge.
In 1998, Holden celebrated its 50th anniversary and they invited the country’s most heralded female athletes, “50 Golden Girls” past and present, to don motor racing gear for the big occasion.
It was quite a gathering, with Olympians from Dawn Fraser and Jane Flemming, to Shane Gould and beach volleyballers Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst. Given that I was Holden’s official ‘face’ I was thrown into the mix and asked to drive in the race. As a girl who loves the smell of petrol…I couldn’t get my helmet on fast enough!
It was an extraordinary week of driving practice, receiving my CAMS licence and getting to know some exceptional women, among them Natalie Cook.
Nat stands out as a doer, a hard worker, a self-believer and one of the most motivated people I have ever come across.
We became good mates and leading up to the Sydney Olympics I could only marvel at her preparation towards winning the ultimate prize, the gold medal. She’d had success in Atlanta in ’96 – winning bronze in beach volleyball with partner Kerri Pottharst but more than anything she wanted gold and she wanted to win it in Sydney.
She absolutely believed that the gold medal was going to be hers. It was not a matter of if, but when she would be holding that precious medal in her hands. She was never afraid to dream big.
She not only trained as hard as her body would let her but she built steel determination by literally walking on fire, working with sports psychologists and assembling a great team of support around her. She practised total self-belief and surrounded herself with images and objects that reminded her of the ultimate goal…gold. She bought a gold phone cover, wore gold shoes, put up images all over her house of gold and what it stood for. Talk about vision boards…!
Sure enough, September 26th, on a sunny day at Bondi Beach, (the day Cathy Freeman won gold), Natalie Cook achieved her ultimate goal.
About two years ago, when I started Balance, Nat was one of the first women I wanted to interview, to understand how successful people think, their passion, and what sets them apart. I’d never really discussed it with her directly. The interviews are worth revisiting but importantly what came out of it was knowing she had an incredible gift in helping to motivate others and we needed to capture that. So together we built the online video course Motiv8 Me by Natalie Cook. It’s brilliant!
Tomorrow morning Nat and I pair up again for Weekend Today to try to motivate you in achieving some of your own goals. If anyone can inspire you to finish 2014 on a high…this woman can. With a solid gold motivation.