Natalie Cook, (photo left) an Australian who won beach volleyball gold in 2000, has married Canadian Sarah Maxwell, her girlfriend and fellow beach volleyball player, the News in Australia reports. The wedding took people by surprise, the paper said, especially since Cook's orientation had been largely unknown.
While the wedding came as a surprise to some, others were more taken aback by the fact Cook has been in a long-term relationship with a woman.
A hearty self-promoter when it comes to beach volleyball, Cook has never revealed details of her personal life and despite 12 years in the public spotlight, she has never been romantically linked with anyone until now.
It's understood Cook was dating a man at the time she and Maxwell were introduced, with a source revealing it was Maxwell who did the wooing.
Cook, 33, has a website, but her bio page gives no personal details. She and Maxwell, 31, were married at a resort in Queenstown. Australia does not recognize same-sex marriage, but Canada does.
Cook won a beach volleyball bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games and a gold at the 2000 Games in Sydney (with partner Kerri Ann Pottharst). She finished fifth in this summer's Beijing Games. Maxwell plays on the pro circuit, with one tournament win in eight seasons. She also competed in the Beijing Games.