Joanne Carter made her Olympic debut in figure skating at the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games. In the lead up to the Nagano Games, Carter posted Australia's best result in ladies figure skating, finishing in 11th place at the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. This result qualified her for the Olympics where she placed 12th.
She won the Piruetten in Hamar and finished 13th at the 1998 World Championships following the Olympics, but her career was then cruelly interrupted by a major knee injury which put her out of competition for almost two years.
Carter returned to international competition in 2003, and at the 2004 Karl Shafer Memorial Trophy in Vienna, she won the bronze medal. At the 2005 Four Continents Championship in Korea, Carter placed fourth, the best ever performance by an Australian in the history of the event. Her placing earned her the right to represent Australia at the 2005 World Championships in Moscow where she delivered one of the best performances of her career, placing 11th in the free program. This result qualified an Australian place at Torino 2006 where Carter went on to compete in her second Olympics, finishing 25th.