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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Cathy Freeman

2000
David Caird

type C photograph on paper (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
© David Caird and News Corp

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

David Caird (age 34 in 2000)

Cathy Freeman OAM (age 27 in 2000)

Donated by

David Caird (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Cathy Freeman, 1994
Cathy Freeman, 1994
Cathy Freeman, 1994
Cathy Freeman, 1994

Depth of Field

Magazine article by Lauren Dalla, 2004

The exhibition Depth of Field displays a selection of portrait photographs that reflect the strength and diversity of Australian achievement.

Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill

Australian of the Year

Inspiring a Nation

Previous exhibition, 2010

The Australian of the Year Awards have often provoked controversy about who is selected and whether their achievements are remarkable.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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