Skip to main content

Cathy Freeman, 1995


direct positive colour photograph (frame: 153.3 cm x 113.2 cm, sheet: 121.0 cm x 90.0 cm)

Cathy Freeman OAM (b. 1973) was eight years old when she won her first race at a school athletics carnival in north Queensland. Coached initially by her stepfather, she had won a number of titles before earning scholarships to boarding schools in Toowoomba and Kooralbyn, where she trained with professional coaches. Aged sixteen, she was selected for the Australian women’s 4 x 100m relay team that took out the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, making her the first Aboriginal athlete to win a Commonwealth gold medal. She won two more gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Canada in 1994 with victories in the 200m and 400m. The first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, she won a silver medal in the 400m in Atlanta in 1996. She was ranked first in the world in her signature event, the 400m, in which she won back-to-back World Championships in 1997 and 1999, and, memorably, the Olympic gold medal in front of her home crowd in Sydney in 2000. She was the first person to be named both Young Australian of the Year (in 1990) and Australian of the Year (in 1998). Freeman retired from running in July 2003, still enjoying the immense popularity she earned during her exceptional career. The Catherine (now Cathy) Freeman Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of enhancing educational opportunities for Aboriginal children.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artists 2003

Vote for your favourite Eye to Eye portrait

Vote for this portrait for your chance to win 1-of-5 Golden Tickets, giving you free entry into all NPG exhibitions and 10% off purchases at the café and bookstore for a whole year!

Voting closes Sunday 16 February 2020. Terms and conditions apply.

Return to the list of Eye to Eye portraits

Accession number: 2003.142

Currently on display: Gallery Eight (Temporary Exhibition Gallery)

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject


Cathy Freeman OAM (age 22 in 1995)

Donated by

Montalbetti+Campbell (8 portraits)

© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196
The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.