|Full name||Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman|
|Born||16 February 1973|
Mackay, Queensland, Australia
|Education||Kooralbyn International school |
|Alma mater||University of Melbourne|
|Height||164 cm (5 ft 5 in)|
|Weight||56 kg (8 st 11 lb; 123 lb)|
|Spouse(s)||Sandy Bodecker (1999–2003), James Murch (2009–present)|
|University team||University of Melbourne|
|Coached by||Step-father Bruce Barber, Mike Danila, Peter Fortune|
|Retired||1 July 2003|
Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman sprinter, who specialised in the 400 metres event. Her personal best of 48.63 seconds currently ranks her as the ninth-fastest woman of all time, set while finishing second to Marie-José Pérec's number-four time at the 1996 Olympics. She became the Olympic champion for the women's 400 metres at the 2000 Summer Olympics, at which she lit the Olympic Flame.(born 16 February 1973) is an Aboriginal Australian former
Freeman was the first Australian Indigenous person to become a Commonwealth Games gold medalist at age 16 in 1990. The year 1994 was her breakthrough season. At the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Freeman won gold in both the 200 m and 400 m. She also won the silver medal at the 1996 Olympics and came first at the 1997 World Championships in the 400 m event. In 1998, Freeman took a break from running due to injury. She returned from injury in form with a first-place finish in the 400 m at the 1999 World Championships. She announced her retirement from athletics in 2003.
In 2007, she founded the Cathy Freeman Foundation.
Prior to 1987
Cathy Freeman was successful in school athletics events. After 1987, she was coached by her stepfather, Bruce Barber, to various regional and national titles.
Following media attention, in 1987 Cathy moved to Kooralbyn International School to be coached professionally by Romanian Mike Danila, who later became a key influence throughout her career; he provided a strict training regime for the young athlete.
In 1988, she was awarded a scholarship to an exclusive girls' school, Fairholme College in Toowoomba. In a competition in 1989, Freeman ran 11.67 s in the 100 metres and Danila began to think about entering her in the Commonwealth Games Trials in Sydney.
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 medalist, as well as one of the youngest, at 16 years old. She moved to Melbourne in 1990 after the Auckland Commonwealth Games. Shortly after moving to Melbourne, her manager Nic Bideau introduced Freeman to athletics coach Peter Fortune, who would become Freeman's coach for the rest of her career. 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 traveled to her first Olympic Games in Barcelona, reaching the second round of her new specialty event, the 400 metres, and finishing 7th as part of the Australian team in the women's 4 × 400 m relay finals. At the 1993 World Championships in Athletics Freeman competed in 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 4 × 100 m squad, winning the silver medal and as a member of the 4 × 400 m team, who finished first but were later disqualified after Freeman obstructed the Nigerian runner. During the 1994 season, Freeman took 1.3 seconds from her 400 m personal best, achieving 50.04 seconds. She also set all-time personal bests in the 100 m (11.24) and 200 m (22.25).
Although a medal favorite at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics in Sweden, Freeman finished fourth. She also reached the semi-finals of the 200 m.
Cathy Freeman made more progress during the 1996 season, setting many personal bests and Australian records. By this stage, she was 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 was the fourth-fastest since the world record was set in Canberra, Australia, in 1985. Pérec's winning time of 48.25 was an Olympic record.
Freeman also lit the torch in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
She continued to win into the 2000 season, despite 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 what she described as harassment from strangers. Freeman won the Olympic title in a time of 49.11 seconds, becoming only the second Australian Aboriginal Olympic champion (the first was Freeman's 4 × 400 teammate Nova Peris-Kneebone who won for field hockey four years earlier in Atlanta). After the race, Freeman took a victory lap, carrying both the Aboriginal and Australian flags. This was despite unofficial flags being banned at the Olympic Games, and the Aboriginal flag, while recognised as official in Australia, not being a national flag or recognised by the International Olympic Committee. Freeman also reached the final of the 200 m, coming sixth. In honour 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).
Throughout her career, Freeman regularly competed in the Victorian Athletic League where she won two 400 m races at the Stawell Gift Carnival. Freeman did not compete during the 2001 season. In 2002 she returned to the track to compete as a member of Australia's victorious 4 × 400 m relay team at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Freeman announced her retirement in 2003.
Since retiring from athletics Freeman has become involved in a range of community and charitable activities. She was an Ambassador of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) until 2012.
Freeman was appointed as an Ambassador for Cottage by the Sea (a children's holiday camp in Queenscliffe, Victoria), alongside celebrity chef Curtis Stone and big-wave surfer Jeff Rowley. Freeman retired from her position as Patron after 10 years in 2014.
Cathy Freeman Foundation
In 2007 Freeman founded the Cathy Freeman Foundation. The Foundation works with four remote Indigenous communities to close the gap in education between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian children, by offering incentives for children to attend school. It partners with the AIEF and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
Freeman was born in 1973 at Slade Point, Mackay, Queensland, to Norman Freeman and Cecelia Barber. Norman was born in Woorabinda of the Birri Gubba people; Cecelia was born on Palm Island in Queensland, and is of Kuku Yalanji heritage. Freeman and her brothers Gavin, Garth, and Norman were raised in at Mackay and in other parts of Queensland. She also had an older sister, Anne-Marie, who was born in 1966 and died in 1990. Anne-Marie had cerebral palsy and spent much of her life in the Birribi care facility in Rockhampton.
Freeman attended several schools, including schools in Mackay and Coppabella, but was mostly educated at Fairholme College in Toowoomba where she attended after winning a scholarship to board there.
Freeman has described how she has been influenced by early experiences with racism and also by the Baháʼí Faith. She was raised a Baháʼí, 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."
Freeman had a long-term romantic relationship with Nick Bideau, her manager, that ended in acrimony and legal wranglings over Freeman's endorsement earnings. Freeman married Alexander "Sandy" Bodecker, a Nike executive 20 years her senior, in 1999. After her success in Sydney she took an extended break from the track to nurse Bodecker through a bout of throat cancer from May to October 2002. She announced their separation in February 2003. Later that year, Freeman began dating Australian actor Joel Edgerton whom she had initially met at the 2002 TV Week Logies. Their relationship ended in early 2005.
In October 2006, Freeman announced her engagement to Melbourne stockbroker James Murch. They married at Spray Farm on the Bellarine Peninsula on 11 April 2009. Freeman gave birth to her first child in 2011.
She joined with actress Deborah Mailman on a road trip, a four-part television documentary series Going Bush (2006) where the pair set off on a journey from Broome to Arnhem Land spending time with Indigenous communities along the way.
In 2008, Freeman participated in Who Do You Think You Are? and discovered that her mother was of Chinese and English heritage as well as Aboriginal. As a result of a 1917 Queensland policy that Aboriginal people could serve in the military if they had a European parent, her paternal great-grandfather, Frank Fisher served in the 11th Light Horse Regiment during World War I.
On her right arm, the side closest to the spectators on an athletics track, she had the words "Cos I'm free" tattooed midway between her shoulder and elbow.
|1990||Commonwealth Games||Auckland, New Zealand||1st||4 × 100 m relay||43.87|
|World Junior Championships||Plovdiv, Bulgaria||15th (sf)||100m||11.87 (wind: -1.3 m/s)|
|5th||200m||23.61 (wind: +1.3 m/s)|
|5th||4 × 100 m relay||45.01|
|1992||Summer Olympics||Barcelona, Spain||7th||4 × 400 m relay||3:26.42|
|World Junior Championships||Seoul, South Korea||2nd||200m||23.25 (wind: +0.3 m/s)|
|6th||4 × 400 m relay||3:36.28|
|1994||Commonwealth Games||Victoria Canada||1st||200 m||22.25|
|2nd||4 × 100 m relay||43.43|
|IAAF Grand Prix Final||Paris, France||2nd||400 m||50.04|
|1995||World Championships||Gothenburg, Sweden||4th||400 m||50.60|
|3rd||4 × 400 m relay||3:25.88|
|1996||Summer Olympics||Atlanta, United States||2nd||400 m||48.63|
|IAAF Grand Prix Final||Milan, Italy||1st||400 m||49.60|
|1997||World Championships||Athens, Greece||1st||400 m||49.77|
|1999||World Championships||Seville, Spain||1st||400 m||49.67|
|6th||4 × 400 m relay||3:28.04|
|World Indoor Championships||Maebashi, Japan||2nd||4 × 400 m relay||3:26.87|
|2000||Summer Olympics||Sydney, Australia||6th||200 m||22.53|
|5th||4 × 400 m relay||3:23.81|
|2002||Commonwealth Games||Manchester, Great Britain||1st||4 × 400 m relay||3:25.63|
|1990||Australian Championships||Melbourne, Australia||2nd||100 m|
|1990||Australian Championships||Melbourne, Australia||3rd||200 m|
|1991||Australian Championships||Sydney, Australia||1st||200 m|
|1992||Australian Championships||Adelaide, Australia||2nd||200 m|
|1992||Australian Championships||Adelaide, Australia||3rd||400 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|
|1995||Australian Championships||Sydney, Australia||2nd||200 m|
|1995||Australian Championships||Sydney, Australia||1st||400 m|
|1996||Australian Championships||Sydney, Australia||1st||100 m|
|1996||Australian Championships||Sydney, Australia||1st||200 m|
|1997||Australian Championships||Melbourne, Australia||2nd||200 m|
|1997||Australian Championships||Melbourne, Australia||1st||400 m|
|1998||Australian Championships||Melbourne, Australia||1st||400 m|
|1999||Australian Championships||Melbourne, Australia||1st||400 m|
|2000||Australian Championships||Sydney, Australia||1st||200 m|
|2000||Australian Championships||Sydney, Australia||1st||400 m|
|2003||Australian Championships||Brisbane, 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|
- Young Australian of the Year 1990
- Australian of the Year 1998
- Australian Sports Medal 2000
- Centenary Medal 2001
- Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) 2001
- In 2001, Freeman received the Olympic Order from Juan Antonio Samaranch
- Laureus named Freeman Sportswoman of the Year in 2001
- Arthur Ashe Courage Award 2001
- Deadly Awards 2003 – Female Sportsperson of the Year
- Sport Australia Hall of Fame induction in 2005
- Queensland Sport Hall of Fame induction in 2009
- In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Freeman was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for her role as a "sports legend".
- "Cathy Freeman". sports-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- "Cathy Freeman: Running for her people". World Athletics. 8 July 2021. Archived from the original on 8 July 2021. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
- "Senior Outdoor 400 Metres Women". World Athletics. Archived from the original on 12 November 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
- TorchRelay – Photos: Cathy Freeman lights the Olympic Flame Archived 13 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.
- John Ashdown (11 January 2012). "50 stunning Olympic moments No9: Cathy Freeman wins gold for Australia". The Guardian.
- "Cathy Freeman, Athlete".
- Cathy Freeman: The athletic proud of Australia Archived 27 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Sebastian Coe (14 January 2001). "Athletics: Making of a legend". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
- Eamonn Condon (27 May 2001). "Freeman, still on the top of the world". The Electronic Telegraph. Retrieved 10 March 2008.
- "Cathy Freeman". aiatsis.gov.au. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "The Top 10 Greatest Olympic Moments of All-Time".
- Barber, Step-father Bruce; Danila, Mike; Auckl, Peter Fortune Retired 1 July 2003 Medal record Women's athletics Representing 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; m, 4 × 100 m Gold 1994 Victoria 200 m Gold 1994 Victoria 400 m Gold 2002 Manchester 4 × 400 m Silver 1994 Victoria 4 × 100. "Cathy Freeman Facts for Kids". facts.kiddle.co. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "Cathy FREEMAN – Australia – Defends World Championship 400m crown in Seville". sporting-heroes.net. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
- "Cathy Freeman". 14 June 2005.
- "Perec out of Olympics". BBC Sport. 22 September 2000.
- "SYDNEY 2000; Perec Says Fear Overwhelmed Her". The New York Times. 29 September 2000.
- Melbourne, National Foundation for Australian Women and The University of. "Peris, Nova Maree – Woman – The Australian Women's Register". womenaustralia.info. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "Indigenous leaders want officials to drop ban on flags". The Age. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- "Olympic flags rule sparks anger". BBC News. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Wallechinsky, David; Loucky, Jaime. The Complete Book of the Olympics. Aurum Press, 2008, p. 300.
- "Top Ten Trivia – Stawell Gift". stawellgift.com. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- Johnson, Len (16 July 2003). "Cathy Freeman retires". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- "Patron -". Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- "Cathy Freeman Foundation – home". Cathy Freeman Foundation – home. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "Cathy Freeman on finding meaning and success in life after sport". ABC News. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- Jacobs, Sandra (1 July 2014). "The Cathy Freeman Foundation – closing the education gap". Bennelong Foundation.
- Cos I'm Free (AKA Cathy Freeman) Archived 13 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Transcript, Message Stick, ABC Television, 11 March 2006.
- "Cathy Freeman OAM, b. 1973". National Portrait Gallery people. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
- Indigenous Australia: Catherine (Cathy) Freeman, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University website. Retrieved 7 August 2017
- Catherine Freeman Who Do You Think You Are?. SBS One.
- The love and pain that inspire Cathy, Top athlete may journey from the winner's podium to the Academy Awards by Michael Dwyer, The Age, 9 March 2006.
- Born to Run (extract) Archived 19 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Chapter 1 Running Free, Penguin Group (Australia)
- Raelene Boyle (22 March 2006) " Bideau's methods are make or break". The Sydney Morning Herald
- Brendan Gallagher (24 June 2004). Cathy Freeman tells her story. The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group.
- Jacquelin Magnay (8 November 2002) "Sandy beats cancer", The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Cathy and Joel split", The Age, 21 January 2005.
- Sheahan, Kate; Gullan, Scott (12 October 2006). "Cathy Freeman to wed again". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
- "Sprinter Freeman walks down the aisle". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 April 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- "Cathy Freeman gives birth", The Age, 8 July 2011.
- Going Bush at IMDb
- Cathy's family secrets – publisher: The Daily Telegraph (13 January 2008)
- Coulter, Michael (12 November 2021). "Sporting tattoos".
- "Cathy Freeman OAM - Australian of the Year". Archived from the original on 27 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5.
- It's an Honour entry – Australian Sports Medal – 26 January 2001 Archived 13 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Citation: World Champion 1997 and 1999, Commonwealth Champion 1994, VIS Award of Excellence 1997
- It's an Honour entry – Centenary Medal – 1 January 2001 Archived 13 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Citation: For outstanding service through sport
- It's an Honour entry – Medal of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2001 Archived 13 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Citation: For service to sport, particularly athletics
- "Olympic News – Official Source of Olympic News". International Olympic Committee. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "Cathy Freeman". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
- "Ms Catherine Freeman OAM". Queensland Sport Hall of Fame. qsport.org.au. Archived from the original on 26 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- Freeman, Cathy (2007) Born to Run Melbourne, Penguin Books Australia. ISBN 9780143302384
- Hutcheon, Stephen (12 September 2020). "Tripping the flow: The clever physics hack behind Cathy Freeman's golden Olympic run". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- McGregor, A. (1998) Cathy Freeman; A Journey Just Begun. Milsons Point, Random House Australia. ISBN 0-09-183649-2
- White, L. (2013) "Cathy Freeman and Australia's Indigenous Heritage: A New Beginning for an Old Nation at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games", International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol. 19, Issue 2, pp 153–170 (ISSN 1352-7258).
- White, L. (2010) "Gender, Race and Nation at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games: Mediated Images of Ian Thorpe and Cathy Freeman". In L. K. Fuller (ed.) Sexual Sports Rhetoric: Global and Universal Contexts. New York: Peter Lang, pp 185–200 (ISBN 9781433105098).
- White, L. (2008) "One Athlete, One Nation, Two Flags: Cathy Freeman and Australia's Search for Aboriginal Reconciliation", Sporting Traditions, Vol. 25, Issue 2, pp 1–19 (ISSN 0813-2577).
- Cathy Freeman at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame
- Cathy Freeman at the Australian Olympic Committee
- Cathy Freeman at Commonwealth Games Australia
- Cathy Freeman at World Athletics
- Cathy Freeman at Olympedia
- Cathy Freeman at Estrella Sports Management
- The Cathy Freeman Foundation - supports Indigenous students to experience their full potential in school