Cathy Freeman

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Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman, OAM (known as Cathy Freeman) (born 16 February 1973) is an Australian Aboriginal sprinter who is particularly associated with the 400 metres race. She became the Olympic champion for 400 m in the 2000 Sydney games, at which she lit the Olympic Flame.[1] Freeman was born in Slade Point, Mackay, Queensland, where the local athletics track is now named after her.

Contents

Career

Freeman began athletics at an early age. Her first coach was her stepfather, Bruce Barber. By her early teens she had a collection of regional and national titles, having competed in the 100 metres, 200 metres and high jump.[citation needed]

In 1987, Freeman moved on to Kooralbyn International School to be coached professionally by Romanian Mike Danila, who become her first real coach and later a key influence throughout her career; he provided a strict training regime for the young athlete.[2][3][4]

In 1988, She was awarded a scholarship to an exclusive girls' school, Fairholme College in Toowoomba. In a competition in 1989, Freeman ran 11.67s 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 medallist, as well as one of the youngest, at 16 years old. She moved to Melbourne in 1990s after the Auckland Commonwealth Games. Shortly after moving to Melbourne, Bideau her manager 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 travelled to her first Olympic Games, reaching the second round of her new speciality event; the 400 metres. At the 1993 World Championships in Athletics, Freeman competed in the 200 m, reaching the semi-finals.

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