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Cathy Freeman OAM

Indigenous Olympic Champion 


Cathy Freeman is a proud Kuku Yalanji and Birri Gubba woman. She is also an Australian Indigenous Olympic champion. She ran her first race when she was five and realised that she loved the way racing made her feel. She won her first gold medal at a School Athletics Championships when she was eight years old.

Cathy Freeman was a member of the gold medal-winning 4x100m relay team at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games, and in so doing became the first female Australian Aboriginal to win a gold medal at an International athletics event. She was awarded Young Australian of the Year in 1991 and a year later in Barcelona became the first Australian Aboriginal to represent Australia at an Olympic Games. Two years later, Cathy won gold in both the 200m and 400m at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada. At the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, she won silver with a personal best time of 48.63s in the 400m. She was crowned World Champion in the same event at the World Athletic Championships the following year, was awarded Australian of the year in 1998, and was again World Champion in the 400m in 1999.

Cathy’s most notable achievement, however, came in 2000 at the Olympic Games in Sydney. Her image was beamed into millions of homes around the world when she became the first competing athlete to be invited to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony. She then went on to win the gold medal in the 400m, realising a life-long dream.

Cathy also spent 15 years building the Cathy Freeman Foundation, which commenced in 2007, where the focus was on supporting Indigenous children experience their potential in school and beyond and realise their dreams

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