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Cathy Freeman, AUS

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Full Name: Catherine Freeman 
Born: 16 February 1973 (Mackay, Queensland, Australia)
Lives: Melbourne
Height: 164cm
Weight: 53kg
Event: 200m, 400m, 4x400m
Club: Ringwood 

(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 Track.)

Coach: Peter Fortune (previously Raelene Boyle)
State: Victoria
Family: Catherine is one of five children.
Marital Status: In 1999 married American Nike Soccer Executive Alexander Bodecker, 48. (separated in 2003).
Other: Cathy 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.

Personal Bests:

100m 11.24 1994 LOCATION?
200m 22.25 1994 LOCATION?
400m 48.63 1996 LOCATION?
300m  36.42 2003 LOCATION?
4x400m relay split  49.35 2000 final, Sydney Olympics, AUS

Junior

At 16 years of age, Catherine won gold at the Commonwealth Games as part of the 4 x 100m relay team. 

1992

In 1992, she became the first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at an Olympic Games. 

1994

She became one of Australia's best known figures with double gold at the Commonwealth Games in 1994 in the 200m and 400m. 

1995

Cathy missed out on a medal at the World Championships in 1995.

Worlds 1995

1996

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

1997-1999

After Atlanta, Freeman won back-to-back World Championships in 400m in 1997 and 1999. 

World Championships 1997 & 1999

2000

Freeman took the 200m/400m National title double in February 2000 at Stadium Australia. 

Sydney Olympics 2000

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 2000What 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. 

"Ever 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. 

"As 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. 

"This 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 Cathy. 

"Freeman's 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 it, thanks."

2001-2002

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 races. 

 

Commonwealth Games, Manchester

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 her leg. 

Commonwealth Games, Manchester 2002: Australian women's 4x400m relay team

 

Cathy launched her own website in July 2002. www.cathyfreeman.com.au

2003

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. 

Honours

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).

2005

Freeman considers return to track

Former Olympic 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 the move.

"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."

But 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.

"The preparation 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 things."

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 again.

"But she would have to get out and prove herself in races before they selected her to run in the relay."

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