February 1973 (Mackay, Queensland, Australia)
(Her first club was
Slade Point Amateur Athletics club (Mackay), which she joined in 1984 when
she was 11. The club now proudly competes on the Cathy Freeman Athletics
Fortune (previously Raelene Boyle)
is one of five children.
1999 married American Nike Soccer Executive Alexander Bodecker, 48. (separated
has a tattoo on her right shoulder which says - 'cos I'm free. It was inspired
Andy White's a song by the same title and sung by Aboriginal
singer, Christine Anu.
Sydney Olympics, AUS
At 16 years of age,
Catherine won gold at the Commonwealth Games as part of the 4 x 100m relay
In 1992, she became the
first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at an Olympic
She became one of
Australia's best known figures with double gold at the Commonwealth Games in
1994 in the 200m and 400m.
Cathy missed out on a medal
at the World Championships in 1995.
Became the first Australian
women to run under 50 seconds for 400m in Melbourne in 1996.
At the 1996 Olympic
Games in Atlanta, she became the sixth fastest women ever over 400m, running a
Commonwealth record and winning the silver medal behind Marie-Jose Perec in
arguably the greatest one lap race of all time.
Olympics 1996, Atlanta
After Atlanta, Freeman won
back-to-back World Championships in 400m in 1997 and 1999.
|World Championships 1997
Freeman took the 200m/400m
National title double in February 2000 at Stadium Australia.
| Besides having the
opportunity to represent her country, Cathy had an added honour at the Olympic
Games when she was chosen to light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony for the Sydney 2000.
What followed was the
realisation of a dream winning the 400m and claiming Australia's 100th Olympic
Gold medal, backed up by a 7th placing in the 200m, and running a great anchor
leg (49.35) for the Australian 4 x 400m relay team finishing 5th in a new
Australian record time.
since 1993, when it was announced that Sydney would host the 2000 Olympic Games,
Cathy Freeman had dreamt of something which few athletes even have the
opportunity to achieve, winning an Olympic Gold medal in her own country.
reigning world champion and with a good season prior to the Games, Freeman was
clearly the favourite for the 400m at Sydney. The only real threat seemed to
come from her old rival Marie-Jose Perec who had come back very well from a long
illness. Perec had had an indifferent European
season, unlike Freeman's, which had been very successful. Before the track competition started,
Perec, who had been subjected to a lot of
media attention since arriving in Sydney due to her rivalry with Freeman,
suddenly, and rather mysteriously left Sydney and returned to France.
now made Freeman an overwhelming favourite, and the pressure upon her must have
been enormous. Although Australia had other Olympic representatives who were
gold medal favourites, by far the largest media coverage was devoted to
start in the final was conservative, but she always had the race under control,
winning as she liked in 49.11sec, well clear of Jamaica's Lorraine Graham
(49.58sec) and Britain's Katherine Merry (49.72sec.). Almost anticlimactically,
Freeman delivered two more noteworthy performances. Three days after her 400m
victory she came 7th behind Marion Jones in the 200m (22.53sec), and two days
after that she anchored the Australian 4 x 400m relay team to a 5th place finish
in 3min. 23.81sec, breaking the Australian national record which had stood since
the 1976 Olympics."
Named the 2000 Laureus
Female Athlete of the Year (regarded as the sporting equivalent of an Oscar).
||Australian track and field
star, Cathy Freeman was awarded the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
statuette by World Sports Academy member Boris Becker, and Academy Award
winning actress Marcia Gaye Harden.
"Thank you. Stop laughing at me, Michael, Michael Johnson. His Royal
Highness, Mr Samaranch. I would like to thank the Academy, thank you so
very, very much. I would like to congratulate all the other nominees and
wish them all the very best in their endeavours. And congratulations
to Laureus. I think this is a fantastic, fantastic awards, and I
congratulate you on tonightís proceedings. Thank you. Alright, thatís
Cathy took a break from
athletics in 2001, but resumed training in November.
Had her first race, a low
key 100m on 21 February 2002, followed by a serious of 200m sprints. On March 16
made her return to 400m, clocking 52.59 and extending her winning streak to 22
In early April she withdrew
from the Telstra A-Championships/Commonwealth Games trials with a stress
reaction in her right femur, but was still selected in the Commonwealth
Games team in the 4x400m relay.
In mid-May was given the all
clear to recommence training, but on May 30, she announced her withdrawal from
the Commonwealth Games due to her husband having throat cancer. On July 15,
Cathy announced that she would contest the 4 x 400m relay. In a thrilling finish
to the athletics program, the women's 4x400 metre relay team, Lauren Hewitt,
Cathy Freeman, Tamsyn Lewis and Jana Pittman ran a sensational race, crossing
the line in a new games record of 3:25.63 for the gold. Cathy clocked 51.44 on
Cathy launched her own
website in July 2002. www.cathyfreeman.com.au
Started the 2003 domestic
season in solid form with three 400m wins extending her winning streak to 25
races (commenced on 10/7/98). But on March 22 Cathy faced a significant
challenge to her unbeaten run from Jana Pittman. Cathy ran a seasonal best of
51.81, but Jana was sensational - taking the race in a time of 50.43.
Cathy went on to take the
national 400m title, her 13th Australian Championships since her first in 1990.
Lowered her 300m best to 36.42 in Mexico in May.
Then on 24 May 2003 Cathy
ran what would be her last ever race. She placed 5th over 400m in a time of
51.70 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene Oregan. In London on May 15 she
announced her retirement from athletics.
In 1990 she was awarded
Young Australian of the Year and Australian of the Year in 1998. (the only
person to ever be awarded both honours).
considers return to track
champion Cathy Freeman said she would consider a return to action in the
relay at next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
But the 31-year-old
said she would only try to make the team if she felt there was backing for
"If there was
overwhelming support for me to come back I would think about it, but not
just if it was for myself,"
she told Australia's Sun-Herald.
"It would be
enough motivation for me to get out there and try again."
Freeman, who retired in July 2003, ruled out a return to the individual event.
"I don't think I
could ever top what I felt in Sydney, and I've got too much pride.
"If I was part of
the relay I'd do it, but not the individual.
and getting fit is easy. And I don't think I could lose that
competitiveness and killer instinct, I've just channelled it into other
Former coach Raelene
Boyle said the public would back Freeman were she to return to the track
but questioned the wisdom of such a move.
"It would be
fantastic to see Cathy run but I believe that once you retire, you retire.
When you have got a unique talent like she has, maybe it would work to try
she would have to get out and prove herself in races before they selected
her to run in the relay."