Australian Cathy Freeman won the most anticipated 2000 Olympic gold medal in Sydney in the 400m on home soil in front of 112,000 roaring fans and millions around the world watching on television. Eleven days prior to becoming an Olympic champion, Freeman, an Aborigine, had the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron in the Opening Ceremony to open the Sydney Games. A three-time Olympian, Freeman also finished sixth in the 200m, and fifth in the 4x400m relay in Sydney. At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, she won a silver medal behind Marie-Josee Perec of France, and reached the 4x400m final at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, finishing seventh.
At the 1995 World Championships, Freeman won a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay and while favoured to win a medal in the 400m, she finished fourth (reached the semi-finals of the 200m). Freeman was crowned the World 400m champion at the 1997 World Championships in a season where she only lost one race. After taking 1998 off with an injury, she returned to form in 1999 and successfully defended her 400m title from two years previous at the 1999 World Championships (in a season where she did not lose one single race).
Freeman was the recipient of the Olympic Order in Silver, and won the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award in 2001. In 2002, she escorted the Olympic Flag into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, joining Desmond Tutu, John Glenn, Kazuyoshi Funaki, Lech Walesa, Jean Michael Cousteau, Jean-Claude Killy and Steve Spielberg.
As one of Australia’s most admired Olympic champions and the only Aboriginal individual gold medalist, Freeman was a role model for girls and women throughout the country and the world. Since she retired from sports competition in 2003, she has concentrated her time on making a difference to 1600 Indigenous children and their families through the Cathy Freeman Foundation (CFF) and lending her support to other community and charitable activities.
Personal Bests: 200 – 22.25 (1994); 400 – 48.63 (1996).
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1992 Summer Olympics||Athletics||AUS||Cathy Freeman|
|400 metres, Women (Olympic)||5 h1 r2/4|
|4 × 400 metres Relay, Women (Olympic)||Australia||7|
|1996 Summer Olympics||Athletics||AUS||Cathy Freeman|
|200 metres, Women (Olympic)||6 h1 r3/4|
|400 metres, Women (Olympic)||2||Silver|
|2000 Summer Olympics||Athletics||AUS||Cathy Freeman|
|200 metres, Women (Olympic)||6|
|400 metres, Women (Olympic)||1||Gold|
|4 × 400 metres Relay, Women (Olympic)||Australia||5|