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Cathy Freeman
, 1994 (printed 2010)

by Bill McAuley

type C photograph (sheet: 35.5 cm x 49.1 cm, image: 27.5 cm x 41.0 cm)

Catherine ‘Cathy’ Freeman OAM (b. 1973), athlete, was born in Mackay, Queensland. Her mother is of the Kuku Yalanji people, born on Palm Island, and her father was of the Burri Gubba people, born in Woorabinda. Moving around with her mother in her early years, by the age of fourteen she had won several national titles and received a scholarship to boarding school in Toowoomba. At sixteen she became the first Australian Aboriginal runner to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal. Later, she became the first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, winning the silver medal for the 400m in Atlanta in 1996. In 1998 she was named Australian of the Year. After she lit the Olympic flame at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, expectations for her 400m final were enormous. Accelerating away from the pack at the final bend, Freeman took gold in one of the all-time great Australian sporting moments. On her victory lap, she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal Australian flags. Freeman retired from running in July 2003, still enjoying the immense popularity she earned during her exceptional career. The Cathy Freeman Foundation, established in 2007, continues to enhance opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in remote and under-resourced communities.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2010
Accession number: 2010.91