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Cathy Freeman

Real name: Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman
Birthdate: February 16, 1973
Status: N/A
Partner: N/A

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Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman OAM (born February 16, 1973) is an Australian athlete who is particularly associated with the 400 m race. As an Aboriginal Australian, she is regarded as a role model for her people, and by many in the non-Aboriginal community as a symbol of national reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. She was born in Slade Point,Mackay, Queensland. The Slade Point "Cathy Freeman Oval" is named after the famous athlete.

At the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she created a great deal of controversy by waving the Aboriginal flag as well as the Australian flag during her victory lap of the arena. Normally, only the national flag is so waved. There was no such controversy when she did the same after winning her gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, even though the use of non-national flags at the Olympics is officially forbidden.

Freeman won two World Championships in the 400 m event, in Athens (1997) and Seville (1999). At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, she won the silver medal behind Marie-José Perec of France.

On 25 September 2000 Cathy Freeman won the 400 m Olympic title in front of her home crowd during the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The medal was regarded as Australia's 100th gold medal. Earlier, she had lit the Olympic Flame in the Games' Opening Ceremony. This made her the only person to light the Olympic flame and go on to win a gold medal at the same games.

Freeman was appointed Moomba Monarch (popularly called Queen of Moomba) by the Melbourne festival's 1995 committee.Freeman was the recipient of the 2001 Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Freeman had a long-term romantic relationship with Nick Bideau, her manager, that ended in acrimony and legal wranglings over Freeman's endorsement earnings.

Freeman married Sandy Bodecker, a Nike executive, in 1999. After her success in Sydney she took an extended break from the track to nurse Bodecker through a bout of cancer. She announced their separation in February 2003.

Returning to running in 2003, Freeman clearly struggled for form and motivation after losses to upcoming Australian runner Jana Pittman, and a fifth placing in an athletics meet in May where she was thoroughly trounced by Ana Guevara of Mexico, the fastest 400 m runner at that time.

On 15 March 2006, Cathy Freeman was one of the final runners in the Queen's Baton Relay, bringing the baton into the MCG at the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


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