Priya Cooper has defeated cerebral palsy to become one of Australia's leading Paralympians. She began swimming as a means of therapy at an early age, only later realising her potential as a competitor. By 1995, at the age of 21, she held the world record for the 50m and 100m freestyle events and in 1996 the world record for the 400m and 800m freestyle and 100m backstroke.
At the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona Priya won three gold and two silver medals (the most of any Australian athlete), set two world records and was the flag bearer for the Australian team at the closing ceremony. This was her first international competition. On her return to Australia she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her services to sport, and became an Australia Day Ambassador.
She followed this with even greater success at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, where she was co-captain of the Australian team, won five gold medals (plus a silver and a bronze), set another three world records and was again the flag bearer for her country.
In 1998 Priya competed in the British National Swimming Championships, winning four gold medals, a bronze medal, and setting a world record.
At the Sydney 2000 Paralympics she won a gold medal in the 400m Freestyle and three bronze medals, despite having recently recovered from major shoulder surgery.
Priya has been given the keys to the City of Sydney, appointed a member of the State Government committee, established to co-ordinate the Western Australian celebrations for the centenary of Federation in 2001, named Australia's 1995 Paralympian of the Year and inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions in 2006. In 1999, Priya was named The Young Australian of the Year for Sport over Pat Rafter and Ian Thorpe, both finalists for the title.
Priya is a truly dynamic speaker, with a strength and vision that is nothing short of inspirational. Her presentations frequently elicit standing ovations from audiences. She reminds us that any dream, large or small, personal or corporate, can come true with the strength of sheer determination.
Client Comments for Priya Cooper
Priya Cooper travels from Western Australia Australia
- A delightful person & incredibly helpful (she even helped hand out name
- Success is a Choice
- The Honour of Winning
"Nothing was too much trouble and the assistance I received in regards to making sure the script was correct was invaluable."
Homelessness Australia Inc.
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