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Cathy Freeman
, 2000

by David Caird

type C photograph (sheet: 76.0 cm x 50.6 cm)

Catherine 'Cathy' Freeman OAM (b. 1973), athlete, was born in Mackay, Queensland. At the age of 16 she became the first Aboriginal runner to win a Commonwealth gold medal. She won two more in 1994, and as 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 the Olympic gold medal in 2000. She was the first person to be named both Young Australian of the Year (1990) and Australian of the Year (1998). Freeman retired from running in July 2003, still enjoying the immense popularity she earned during her exceptional career. The Catherine Freeman Foundation, established in 2007, has since enhanced opportunities for individuals living in disadvantaged Australian communities.

David Caird, a press photographer, was assigned to cover Freeman's unforgettable Sydney Olympic race, which was at 8pm. Jammed between rival cameramen, he took this shot just before the start, as Freeman glanced skyward for a fraction of a second.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of David Caird and Melbourne Herald Sun 2003
Accession number: 2003.6