Cathy Freeman

Freeman immediately before the final of the 400 meters at the Summer Olympic Games 2000 in Sydney

Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman, OAM ( born February 16, 1973 in Mackay, Queensland ) is a former Australian athlete. She ran in international competitions, individual and relay race over 200 m and 400 m. It belongs to the Aborigines. Among her greatest successes include the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where she lit the Olympic torch and Olympic champion was.

As an ambassador of her people, the original inhabitants of Australia, she made the Australian and world public attention to the situation. There have been frequent of TV cameras showed her tattoo on the right shoulder in large formats, which consists of the words COS I'M FREE ( Because I 'm free ). In 1998 she received the honor for Australian of the Year.

Sports career

Her first race was won by Cathy Freeman 1981 on 80 meters. Freeman's first coach was her stepfather Bruce Wales. 1988 Freeman made ​​her first trip abroad as an athlete in the United States to participate in an international athletes meeting. On February 3, 1990, she won the Australian 4x100 m relay gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Peter Fortune 1991 Freemans coach and it was up to the End of career. Together they participated in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona in part, in which Freeman missed the semi-finals in the 400m. With the 4 × 400 m relay she finished in seventh place.

Ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 1994 in Victoria, Freeman has delivered several duels with Melinda Gainsford - Taylor, also an Australian short- distance runner in the world class. At the Commonwealth Games Freeman won the finals over 400 and 200 meters. In the 4 × 400 m relay, the Australian squadron was indeed the first at the finish, but was disqualified because of a jostling between Cathy Freeman and a Nigerian runner. A sporty low point in Freeman's career was the fourth place at the World Championships in Gothenburg in 1995, where she took up with the goal to win the 400 m race. However, they won the bronze medal with the 4 × 400 m relay. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, USA, Freeman was second from France about 400 meters behind Marie -José Pérec. This was the first medal for an Aborigine in a single Olympic competition. About 200 meters separated them already made ​​in the semifinals. Perec also won this discipline. In the post-Olympic season Freeman was the more successful of the two rivals in the major European athletics meeting. The greatest sporting moments in Freemans running career before Sydney 2000 were the gold in the 400 meters at the 1997 World Championships in Athens and 1999 in Seville. In 1998, she was hurt between the two competitions and had to participate in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, without. With the 4 × 400 m relay Freeman finished fifth in Athens.

Den - according to her - the biggest moment of their sporting career saw Freeman at the 2000 Olympics in her native Australia in Sydney when she 's won the gold medal over 400 meters in a time of 49.11. At 200 meters distance, they finished seventh and with the Australian 4x400 m relay Fifth. As in the following years failed to successes, Cathy Freeman was on 15 July 2003 her retirement from competitive sport known. Her successes writes Cathy Freeman in an article that appeared a day after announcing their withdrawal in the Daily Telegraph:

" I do not think anybody, Certainly not myself, Realised what a great Sydney Took on me. It was wonderful, marvelous, the pinnacle of my career. But it what so incredibly traumatic. More traumatic than I allowed myself to feel at the time and slowly but surely I have come to REALISE did i could not go through all that again. And Realistically, to win a gold medal in my own country, having lit the Olympic flame, which there never going to be a moment for an athlete finer than that. And climaxing with did night in the Sydney Olympic Stadium When I won the 400 meters and then just sat there on the track, hardly daring to open the window in my mind did would let me experience all the feelings thatwere fighting to get in my head. I do not think I ever really did open the window fully. "

"I think that no one, especially myself, was not aware of what I needed to feed Sydney for a victim. It was wonderful, fabulous, the pinnacle of my career. But it was also so incredibly traumatic. Traumatic as I conceded at this time, to feel. And slowly but surely, I realized that I could not go through that again all. And, realistically, there will never be another glorious moment for an athlete than winning a gold medal in my own country and to have ignited the Olympic flame. And all culminated in the night at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney, when I won the 400 meters and then just sat on the runway and it hardly dared to open the window in my mind, that should let me know all the feelings that were struggling to be left in my head. I do not think I've ever really the window completely opened. "


Cathy Freeman was the daughter of Norman Freeman, a talented rugby player, and Cecilia Sibley. Cecilia brought her son Gavin (* 1961) and her daughter Anne -Marie ( * 1966) in the marriage. 1974 Cathy's brother Norman, and in 1976 her brother Garth was born. The father Norman was ill, suffered from alcoholism and left his family in 1978 Since 1979, Cecilia and her children lived with Bruce Barber.; short time later, he married Cecilia. Bruce became the biggest sponsors Cathy: He collected money to pay for the travel expenses and brought the family receive lots of love.

Shortly after returning Cathy Freeman of the 1990 Commonwealth Games, died her sister Anne -Marie. Then they devoted all their future successes of her deceased sister. Died in 1992 her biological father Norman Freeman of a stroke. Cathy Freeman lived from 1991 to 1996 with Nick Bideau together, a journalist from Melbourne who discovered it early and managed. In 1999 she married Alexander (Sandy ) Bodecker, a manager at the sporting goods manufacturer Nike, for whom she cared for a cancer in 2003. Since 2003, the two were separated. In 2009 she married Melbourne stockbroker James Murch. The couple was in July 2011, parents of a daughter.


Cathy Freeman always felt as Aboriginal and showed this too self-conscious in public. She experienced firsthand the numerous problems facing Aboriginal people have to face. In her early career she was runner discrimination because of their skin color. On the exclusive girls' school Fairholme College in Toowoomba, for which she won a scholarship in 1988, she was one of three black girls among 600 students. As their personal heroes called Nelson Mandela, who advocated for the rights of blacks in South Africa.

To their origin Freeman told media representatives after their success with the 4x400 m relay at the 1990 Commonwealth Games: Being Aboriginal means everything to me. I feel for my people all the time. A lot of my friends have the talent but lack the opportunity. Translation: to be "Aboriginal means everything to me. I feel all the time for my people. Many of my friends have talent but lack of opportunities. "

As Freeman ran the lap of honor at the Commonwealth Games in 1994 with the Australian flag and the flag of the Aboriginal and thus caused a minor scandal, the media interested abruptly for the runner and Aboriginal. From one day to the next Freeman was able to reach a broad international public and advocate in the media for the Aborigines. She waved also at the 1997 World Championships and the 2000 Olympic Games, both flags, although this does not allow the rules of the International Olympic Committee.