Defying the Odds
Susan D. Russell, International Figure Skating
June, 2005

Joanne Carter made the world sit up and take notice when she skated into 12th place at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games. In doing so, she made the history books. No other female skater from Australia had ever ranked so high at an Olympic competition. At the time, many believed that this talented young phenom from Australia could win it all one day.

Carter seemed headed for a brilliant skating career, but in 1999, a debilitating knee injury forced her off the ice for almost two years, causing many to believe she would retire. Cater, however, is a woman of iron will and exceptional spirit. She spend the intervening six years healing, training and working hard to return to the sport she loves. "I always felt like I had unfinished business," she said. "I knew I had not achieved what I could - I was not satisfied. There was a part of me that needed to give it one more go. I never gave up on my dream."

During her time off the ice, Carter earned a degree in physiotherapy. She changed coaches twice, finally deciding Galina Pachin was the coach she needed. "When I went to Galina I found my love for the sport again," Carter said. "She motivated me and put the joy back into training."

Her fourth place finish at Four Continents was the highest ever for an Australian woman. "I was in disbelief when I saw the results," Carter said. "I just wanted to go out and skate the way I know I can. The result was above and beyond what I had expected. I skated last in the final flight, which was nerve-wracking. I had a 40-minute wait after the warm-up but it was the first time that I was in the last flight in an international competition so it was all just totally amazing."

Ice Skating Australia designated 2005 Four Continents as the qualifying event for Worlds. "I am over the moon that I am going to Worlds," said Carter. "It is what I set out to do this season. I worked really hard to get myself to where I am right now. I am so excited to be in this position again. It has been a long time between drinks."

"It would be the ultimate thing for me to represent Australia at the 2006 Olympics. It is like a drug, you know. Once you have experienced it yu want it again. In 1998 I was too young to take it all in but now I am 24, it is so important to me. I want the opportunity to take in every moment of that incredible experience. And I really want to make my mark."