Cathy Freeman OAM
Catherine Freeman is one of Australia's best-loved and most successful Olympic champions. Realising at a very early that she not only loved to run, but that she was good at it, she won her first gold medal at a school athletics championship when she was eight years old.
Medals: Catherine Freeman's first taste of success on the world stage was as a member of the gold medal-winning 4x100m relay team at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games, in so doing becoming the first female Australian Aboriginal to win a gold medal at an international athletics event. She was awarded Young Australian of the Year in 1991 and a year later in Barcelona became the first Australian Aboriginal to represent Australia at an Olympic Games. Two years later Catherine won gold in both the 200m and 400m at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, and at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 a silver medal - and personal best - in the 400m. She was crowned World Champion in the event at the World Athletic Championships the following year, was awarded Australian of the year in 1998, and was again World Champion in 1999.
Olympics: Catherine's greatest achievement, however, came in 2000 at the Sydney Olympic Games. Her image was beamed into millions of homes around the world when she became the first competing athlete to be invited to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony; she then went on to win the gold medal in the 400m, realising a life-long dream.
Awards: Catherine Freeman was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and the Centenary Medal in 2001, and retired from competitive running in 2003. She now concentrates her time on making a difference to others through the Cathy Freeman Foundation.