Cathy freeman is an Indigenous Australian, is a retired sprinter known for her specialization in the 400-meter event. Her personal record of 48.63 seconds currently places her as the eighth-fastest female sprinter in history. She achieved this time while finishing second to Marie-José Pérec’s fourth-best time during the 1996 Olympics.
Height- 1.64 m
Weight- 56 kg
Full name- Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman
Born- 16 February 1973
Birthplace- Slade Point, Australia
Spouse- Jamie Murch (m. 2009), Sandy Bodecker (m. 1999–2003)
Siblings- Norman Freeman, Anne-Marie Freeman, Gavin Freeman, Garth Freeman
Profession-Track and Field Athlete, Runner
Coached by- Step-father Bruce Barber, Mike Danila, Peter Fortune
Medals-Athletics at the 1996 Summer Olympics – Women’s 400 metres, MORE
In 1973, Freeman was born in Slade Point, Mackay, Queensland, to parents Norman Freeman and Cecelia Barber. Norman’s birthplace is Woorabinda, and he belongs to the Birri Gubba people. Cecelia, on the other hand, was born on Palm Island in Queensland and has Kuku Yalanji heritage. Freeman, along with her brothers Gavin, Garth, and Norman, was raised in various locations in Queensland, including Mackay. Additionally, she had an older sister named Anne-Marie, born in 1966, who tragically passed away in 1990. Anne-Marie had cerebral palsy and spent a significant portion of her life in the Birribi care facility in Rockhampton. Following their divorce in 1978, Freeman’s parents parted ways, with her father subsequently returning to Woorabinda.
Cathy freeman received her education at various schools, which included institutions in Mackay and Coppabella. However, a significant portion of her education took place at Fairholme College in Toowoomba, where she enrolled after earning a scholarship to attend as a boarding student.
Cathy freeman had a prolonged romantic involvement with her manager, Nick Bideau, which eventually ended in disputes and legal conflicts over Freeman’s endorsement earnings. Following this, she tied the knot with Alexander “Sandy” Bodecker, a Nike executive who was two decades her senior,
in 1999. After her remarkable success in Sydney, she took a substantial hiatus from her athletic career to care for Bodecker as he battled throat cancer from May to October 2002. Their separation was publicly announced in February 2003.
Subsequently, Freeman entered a relationship with Australian actor Joel Edgerton, whom she initially met at the 2002 TV Week Logies. However, their relationship came to an end in early 2005.
In October 2006, Freeman revealed her engagement to Melbourne stockbroker James Murch. They exchanged vows at Spray Farm on the Bellarine Peninsula on April 11, 2009.
Cathy and her husband, stockbroker James Murch, are parents to their daughter, Ruby Anne Susie Murch, who was born in 2011.
Cathy Freeman excelled in school track and field events, and from 1987 onwards, her stepfather, Bruce Barber, coached her to numerous regional and national titles.
Between 1987 and 1989, Freeman relocated to Kooralbyn International School for professional coaching by Romanian Mike Danila, who played a pivotal role in her development. In 1988, she earned a scholarship to Fairholme College, Toowoomba, and in 1989, after clocking 11.67 seconds in the 100 meters, she was considered for the Commonwealth Games Trials.
From 1990 to 1995, Freeman’s career saw significant milestones. She became Australia’s first-ever Aboriginal Commonwealth Games gold medalist at 16 by winning gold in the 4x100m relay at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. In 1990, she moved to Melbourne, where her manager, Nic Bideau, introduced her to coach Peter Fortune. Freeman represented Australia at the 1990 World Junior Championships and reached the semifinals of the 100m and placed fifth in the 400m. She also competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, reaching the second round in the 400 meters.
Freeman’s breakthrough came in 1994 when she won gold in both the 200m and 400m at the Commonwealth Games. During that season, she achieved personal bests in the 100m and 200m and improved her 400m personal best to 50.04 seconds.
In 1996, Freeman was the primary challenger to France’s Marie-José Pérec at the Olympics, winning silver in the 400m. She won the 400m at the 1997 World Championships but took a break in 1998 due to injury. Freeman returned in 1999 and won every 400m race she entered, including at the World Championships.
Freeman continued her winning streak in 2000, clinching Olympic gold in the 400m at the Sydney Olympics. She also reached the final of the 200m. Following her victory, Freeman carried both the Aboriginal and Australian flags in a victory lap, despite flag regulations. She represented Oceania in carrying the Olympic flag at the opening ceremonies of the next Olympics in Salt Lake City.Throughout her career, Freeman also participated in the Victorian Athletic League, winning two 400m races at the Stawell Gift Carnival. She didn’t compete in 2001 but returned in 2002 to win gold as part of Australia’s 4x400m relay team at the Commonwealth Games. Freeman announced her retirement in 2003.
Post-Athletic Career Involvements
Following her retirement from athletics, Cathy Freeman has actively engaged in various community and charitable endeavors. She served as an Ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) until 2012.
Additionally, Freeman took on the role of Ambassador for Cottage by the Sea, a children’s holiday camp located in Queenscliffe, Victoria. She shared this role with celebrity chef Curtis Stone and big-wave surfer Jeff Rowley. After a decade of dedicated service, Freeman stepped down from her position as Patron in 2014.
In 2006, Cathy Freeman teamed up with actress Deborah Mailman for the television documentary series “Going Bush,” consisting of four episodes. During this road trip, the duo embarked on a journey from Broome to Arnhem Land, where they spent time with Indigenous communities along the way.
In 2008, Freeman participated in the genealogy show “Who Do You Think You Are?” In this program, she made a surprising discovery about her heritage. She learned that her mother had Chinese and English ancestry in addition to her Aboriginal heritage. Furthermore, due to a Queensland policy from 1917 allowing Aboriginal individuals with European parentage to serve in the military, Freeman discovered that her paternal great-grandfather, Frank Fisher, had served in the 11th Light Horse Regiment during World War I.
On her right arm, the side facing the spectators on an athletics track, Freeman had the phrase “Cos I’m free” tattooed midway between her shoulder and elbow.
Cathy Freeman Foundation
In 2007, Cathy Freeman established the Cathy Freeman Foundation, an organization dedicated to addressing educational disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian children in four remote Indigenous communities. The foundation achieves this goal by providing incentives for children to attend school and collaborating with other organizations such as the AIEF and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
- Young Australian of the Year 1990
- Australian of the Year 1998
- Australian Sports Medal 2000
- Centenary Medal 2001
- Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) 2001
- Olympic Order from Juan Antonio Samaranch in 2001
- Laureus Sportswoman of the Year 2001
- Arthur Ashe Courage Award 2001
- Deadly Awards 2003 – Female Sportsperson of the Year
- Sport Australia Hall of Fame induction in 2005
- Queensland Sport Hall of Fame induction in 2009
- Q150 Icons of Queensland in 2009 for her role as a “sports legend” as part of the Q150 celebrations.
Net Worth 2023
Cathy Freeman, the iconic Australian sprinter, boasts a net worth of $4 million as of August 1, 2023.
Latest News about Cathy freeman
Cathy Freeman declares support for the Voice
Cathy Freeman, the celebrated Australian sports figure, has lent her support to the Voice referendum and will be featured in the Yes campaign leading up to the voting day on October 14. In arguably the most high-profile Indigenous endorsement, Freeman has recorded a minute-long video message imploring Australians to “stand with me” and “show our support for Australians who need it the most”.
“I can’t remember a time when change has felt so urgent. When momentum has been so strong. From small towns to big cities, something is in the air. I know all Australians feel it too,” she said.
“We have the chance to be part of a moment that brings people together, to work hard for something that we can all believe in.
“To stand together … to recognise Indigenous peoples in our Constitution for the very first time, to give our kids the very best start in life, an equal start in life. and to open our hearts and change our future.
“I’m voting Yes, and I am asking that all Australians do too. So please stand with me and write Yes on October 14.”
Freeman, 50, is best known for her 400-metre gold medal winning a race at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, at which she wore a famous full bodysuit.
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