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Medal record

Cathy Freeman
Women’s Athletics
Competitor for  Australia
Olympic Games
Gold 2000 Sydney 400 m
Silver 1996 Atlanta 400 m
World Championships
Gold 1997 Athens 400 m
Gold 1999 Seville 400 m
Bronze 1995 Gothenburg 4 × 400 m relay
Commonwealth Games
Gold 1990 Auckland 4 × 100 m
Gold 1994 Victoria 200 m
Gold 1994 Victoria 400 m
Gold 2002 Manchester 4 × 400 m
Silver 1994 Victoria 4 × 100 m

Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman, OAM (known as Cathy Freeman) (born 16 February 1973) is an Australian sprinter who is particularly associated with the 400 metres race. She became the Olympic champion for 400 m in the 2000 Sydney games, at which she lit the Olympic Flame[1]. Freeman was born in Slade Point, Mackay, Queensland, where the local athletics track is named after her.

Contents

Career

Freeman began athletics at a young age. Her first coach was her stepfather, Bruce Barber. By her early teens she had a collection of regional and national titles, with Cathy competing in the 100 metres, 200 metres and high jump. In 1990, Freeman was chosen as a member of Australia's 4×100 m relay team for the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. The team won the gold medal, making Freeman the first ever Aboriginal Commonwealth Games gold medallist, as well as one of the youngest, at 16 years old. She was then selected to represent Australia at the 1990 World Junior Championships in Athletics in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. There, she reached the semi-finals of the 100 m and placed fifth in the final of the 400 m.

Freeman competed in her second World Junior Championships in Seoul, South Korea. She competed only in the 200 m, winning the silver medal behind China's Hu Ling. Also in 1992, she travelled to her first Olympic Games, reaching the second round of her new speciality event; the 400 metres. For the 1993 World Championships in Athletics, Freeman returned to the 200 m, reaching the semi-finals.

1994 was Freeman's breakthrough season, when she entered into the world's elite for the first time. Competing at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Freeman won gold in both the 200 m and 400 m. She also competed as a member of Australia's 4x100 m squad, winning the silver medal and as a member of the 4x400 m team, who finished first but were later disqualified. During the 1994 season, Freeman took 1.3 seconds from her 400m personal best, achieving 50.04 seconds. She also set all-time personal bests in the 100 m (11.24) and 200 m (22.25).

As one of the favourites for a medal at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics in Sweden, Freeman was disappointed to finish fourth. She also reached the semi-finals of the 200 m.

Freeman made more progress during the 1996 season, setting many personal bests and Australian records. This meant that she had emerged as the biggest challenger to France's Marie-José Pérec at the 1996 Olympics. She eventually took the silver medal behind Pérec, in an Australian record of 48.63 seconds. This is still the sixth fastest time ever and the second fastest since 1985. Pérec's winning time of 48.25 was an Olympic record and the third fastest ever.

Pérec chose to spend the 1997 season concentrating on 400 m, so Freeman became the favourite for that year's World Championships in Athens. Freeman lived up to this, winning the World title in 49.77 seconds. In fact, Freeman's only loss at 400 m, this season came in Oslo when injuring her foot.

Freeman took a break for the 1998 season, due to injury. Upon her return to the track in 1999, Freeman did not lose a single 400 m race, including at the World Championships, where she defended her World title.

Her win streak continued into the 2000 season, despite Marie-José Pérec's return to the track. Freeman was the home favorite for the 400 m title at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where she was expected to face-off with rival Pérec. This showdown never happened, as Pérec left the Games after an encounter with an Australian photographer. Freeman won the Olympic title in a time of 49.11 seconds, becoming only the second Australian Aboriginal Olympic champion (the first was Nova Peris-Kneebone for field hockey in Atlanta). After the race, Freeman took a victory lap, carrying both the Aboriginal and Australian flags. This was despite the fact that unofficial flags are banned at the Olympic Games and the Aboriginal flag, while recognized as official in Australia, is not a national flag, nor recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Freeman also made the final of the 200 m, finishing sixth, after Marion Jones was disqualified. In honor of her gold medal win in Sydney, she represented Oceania in carrying the Olympic flag at the opening ceremonies of the next Olympics, in Salt Lake City, joining Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Africa), John Glenn (The Americas), Kazuyoshi Funaki (Asia), Lech Wałęsa (Europe), Jean-Michel Cousteau (Environment), Jean-Claude Killy (Sport), and Steven Spielberg (Culture). Once more, she took part in the Summer Olympic Torch Relay in the New South Wales Leg in 2004.

She regularly competed in the Victorian Athletic League where she won two 400 m races at the Stawell Gift Carnival.

After her Olympic triumph, Freeman chose to take a break from the track, not competing during the 2001 season. During 2002, Freeman returned to the track to compete as a member of Australia's victorious 4x400 m relay team at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Freeman announced her retirement in 2003.[2]

Personal life

Freeman was born in Mackay, Queensland. She and her brothers Gavin, Garth and Norman (who died after a motor vehicle accident on 16 September 2008) [3] were raised there and in other parts of Queensland. She also had a sister named Anne-Marie (1966–1990) who suffered from cerebral palsy and spent much of her life in a home for the disabled. Freeman was educated in a number of schools but spent most of her time educated at the Fairholme College, in Toowoomba which was a very strict boarding school. Her parents separated when she was at a young age and her mother re-married when Cathy was nine, to a man named Bruce. Freeman has mentioned, in her book and documentary, how her early experiences with racism and faith as a Bahá'í, have influenced her [4]. Freeman was raised a Baha'i, and says of her faith, "I'm not a devout Baha'i but I like the prayers and I appreciate their values about the equality of all human kind".[5][6]

Freeman had a long-term romantic relationship with Nic Bideau, her manager, that ended in acrimony and legal wranglings over Freeman's endorsement earnings.[7] Freeman married Sandy Bodecker, a Nike executive, in 1999. After her success in Sydney she took an extended break from the track to nurse Bodecker through a bout of cancer. She announced their separation in February 2003. Freeman also dated actor Joel Edgerton for a period of time after her retirement.

In October 2006 Freeman announced her engagement to Melbourne stockbroker James Murch.[8] They married at Spray Farm on the Bellarine Peninsula on 11 April 2009.[9]

In 2008 Freeman participated in Who Do You Think You Are? and discovered that she has Chinese and English heritage.[10]

On her right arm, the side closest to the spectators on an athletics track, she had the words "Cos I'm Free" tattoed mid-way between her shoulder and elbow.[11]

Personal bests

Event Time Wind Place Date
100 m 11.24 +1.1 Brisbane, Australia 5 February 1994
200 m 22.25 +1.3 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 26 August 1994
300 m 36.42 - Mexico City, Mexico 3 May 2003
400 m 48.63 - Atlanta, Georgia, USA 29 July 1996

Awards

Year Tournament Venue Result Event
1990 Australian Championships Melbourne, Australia 2nd 100 m
1990 Australian Championships Melbourne, Australia 1st 200 m
1990 Commonwealth Games Auckland, New Zealand 1st 4x100 m Relay
1990 World Junior Championships Plovdiv, Bulgaria 5th 4x100 m Relay
1990 World Junior Championships Plovdiv, Bulgaria 5th 200 m
1991 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 200 m
1992 1992 Summer Olympics Barcelona, Spain 7th 4x400 m Relay
1992 Australian Championships Adelaide, Australia 2nd 200 m

1992

Australian Championships Adelaide, Australia 3rd 400 m
1992 World junior Championships Seoul, Korea 6th 4x400 m Relay
1992 World Junior Championships Seoul, Korea 2nd 200 m
1993 Australian Championships Queensland, Australia 2nd 200 m
1994 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 100 m
1994 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 200 m
1994 Commonwealth Games Victoria, British Columbia 2nd 4x100 m Relay
1994 Commonwealth Games Victoria, British Columbia 1st 200 m
1994 Commonwealth Games Victoria, British Columbia 1st 400 m
1994 IAAF Grand Prix Final Paris, France 2nd 400 m
1995 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 2nd 200 m
1995 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 400 m
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 4th 400 m
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 3rd 4x400 m Relay
1996 1996 Summer Olympics Atlanta, Georgia 2nd 400 m
1996 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 100 m
1996 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 200 m
1996 IAAF Grand Prix Final Milan, Italy 1st 400 m
1997 Australian Championships Melbourne, Australia 2nd 200 m
1997 Australian Championships Melbourne, Australia 1st 400 m
1997 World Championships Athens, Greece 1st 400 m
1998 Australian Championships Melbourne, Australia 2nd
1999 Australian Championships Melbourne, Australia 1st 400 m
1999 World Championships Sevilla, Spain 1st 400 m
1999 World Championships Sevilla, Spain 6th 4x100 m Relay
1999 World Indoor Championships Maebashi, Japan 2nd 400 m
2000 2000 Summer Olympics Sydney, Australia 1st 400 m
2000 2000 Summer Olympics Sydney, Australia 7th 200 m
2000 2000 Summer Olympics Sydney, Australia 5th 4x400 m Relay
2000 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 200 m
2000 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia 1st 400 m
2000 Golden League 2000 - Exxon Mobil Bislett Games Oslo, Norway 1st 400 m
2000 Golden League 2000 - Herculis Zepter Monaco 1st 400 m
2000 Golden League 2000 - Meeting Gaz de France de Paris Paris, France 1st 200 m
2000 Golden League 2000 - Memorial Van Damme Brussels, Belgium 1st 400 m
2000 Grand Prix 2000 - Athletissima 2000 Lausanne, Switzerland 1st 400 m
2000 Grand Prix 2000 - CGU Classic Gateshead, Great Britain 1st 200 m
2000 Grand Prix 2000 - Melbourne Track Classic Melbourne, Australia 1st 400 m
2000 Grand Prix 2000 - Tsiklitiria Meeting Athens, Greece 1st 400 m
2002 Commonwealth Games Manchester, Great Britain 1st 4x400 m Relay
2003 Australian Championships Brisbane, Australia 1st 400 m

References

Further reading

  • McGreggor, A. (1998) Cathy Freeman; A Journey Just Begun. Milsons Point, Random House Australia. ISBN 0-09-183647-2.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dr. Peter C. Doherty
Australian of the Year
1998
Succeeded by
Mark Taylor
Preceded by
Marion Jones
World Sportswoman of the Year
2001
Succeeded by
Jennifer Capriati
Olympic Games
Preceded by
Muhammad Ali
Final Summer Olympic Torchbearer
Sydney 2000
Succeeded by
Nikolaos Kaklamanakis

Simple English

Medal record
File:Cathy Freeman 2000
Cathy Freeman
Women’s Athletics
Competitor for
Olympic Games
Gold 2000 Sydney 400 m
Silver 1996 Atlanta 400 m
World Championships
Gold 1997 Athens 400 m
Gold 1999 Seville 400 m
Bronze 1995 Gothenburg 4 × 400 m relay
Commonwealth Games
Gold 1990 Auckland 4 × 100 m
Gold 1994 Victoria 200 m
Gold 1994 Victoria 400 m
Gold 2002 Manchester 4 × 400 m
Silver 1994 Victoria 4 × 100 m

Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman (born February 16, 1973) is an Australian Aborigine athlete. She is famous for winning many races, including at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.









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