Life On The Job


Indigenous Famous Person's Story

Cathy Freeman (16 February 1973 - ) - SPORTSPERSON

Olympics win for Cathy Freeman

Introduction

Catherine Astrid Salome "Cathy" Freeman, OAM (born 16 February 1973) at Slade Point, Mackay, Queensland, to Norman Freeman and Cecelia. She and her brothers Gavin, Garth and Norman (who died after a motor vehicle accident on 16 September 2008) were raised there and in other parts of Queensland. She also had a sister named Anne-Marie (1966–1990) who suffered from cerebral palsy and spent much of her life in a home for the disabled.  

Cathy is a former Australian sprinter, who specialised in the 400 metres event. Her personal best of 48.63 currently ranks her as the sixth fastest woman of all time, set while finishing second to Marie-Jose Perec's number three time at the 1996 Olympics. She became the Olympic champion for the women's 400 metres at the 2000 Summer Olympics, at which she lit the Olympic Flame. Freeman was the first ever Aboriginal Commonwealth Games gold medalist at age 16 in 1990. (Source: Wikipedia)

Photo of Cathy Freeman as a girl
(Source: Sports Card World)

Freeman began athletics at a very young age. Her first coach was her stepfather, Bruce Barber. By her early teens she had a collection of regional and national titles, having competed in the 100 metres, 200 metres, high jump and long jump.

In 1987, Freeman moved on to Kooralbyn International School to be coached professionally by Romanian Mike Danila, who became her first real coach and later a key influence throughout her career; he provided a strict training regime for the young athlete.

In 1988, she was awarded a scholarship to an exclusive girls' school, Fairholme College in Toowoomba. In a competition in 1989, Freeman ran 11.67s in the 100 metres and Danila began to think about entering her in the Commonwealth Games Trials in Sydney.

In 1990, Freeman was chosen as a member of Australia's 4 × 100 m relay team for the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. The team won the gold medal, making Freeman the first ever Aboriginal Commonwealth Games gold medallist, as well as one of the youngest, at 16 years old. She moved to Melbourne in 1990 after the Auckland Commonwealth Games. Shortly after moving to Melbourne Nic Bideau, her manager, introduced Freeman to athletics coach Peter Fortune, who would become Freeman's coach for the rest of her career. She was then selected to represent Australia at the 1990 World Junior Championships in Athletics in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. There, she reached the semi-finals of the 100 m and placed fifth in the final of the 400 m.

1994 was her breakthrough season. At the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Freeman won gold in both the 200 m and 400 m. She also won the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics and came first at the 1997 World Championships, both in the 400 m event. 1998 saw Freeman taking a break from running due to injury. She returned to form with a first place in the 400 m at the 1999 World Championships. She announced her retirement from athletics in 2003.
(Source:
Wikipedia)


In Summary:

1990 Commonwealth Games, Auckland, New Zealand - Gold 4 x 100 metres relay team. With this medal win, she became the first female Australian Aboriginal to win a gold medal at an international athletics event.
1991 awarded Young Australian of the Year
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain - Cathy Freeman become the first Australian Aboriginal to represent Australia at an Olympics
1994 Commonwealth Games, Victoria, Canada – Gold in the 200m and 400m.
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, USA – silver medal and personal best 48.63 seconds.
1997 World Athletic Championships, Athens, Greece – gold 400m.
1998 awarded Australian of the Year
1999 World Athletic Championships Seville, Spain – Gold 400m.
2000 Olympic Games - Sydney - Gold 400m
(Source: Victoria University)

Education:

Cathy attended several schools but was mostly educated at Fairholme College, Toowoomba.

Fairholme College

Cathy did not enjoy school and embraced every opportunity to get out of class.

Cathy attended pirmary school in Mackay and high school in Coppabella until 1986 when she received a scholarship to board at Fairholme College.
After Fairholme College, Cathy spent eighteen months at Kooralbyn International School.

After moving to Melbourne, Cathy enrolled in an Australian history and politics course and whilst not committeed she enjoyed learning about the history of colonisation and being part of a freethinking community. (Source: ANU)

Employment & Training:

At age 14, Cathy was told by the high school vocational guidance offer that her only career aspiration was to win an Olympic medal.

Cathy did work experience as a hairdresser before winning a scholarship to attend Fairholme College.

After graduating from school, Cathy was offered a job as a recreation officer at the Kooralbyn Valley Resort before being sacked for her tardiness.

Cathy moved to Melbourne and worked in a sandwich bar then worked in a sports store.

In 1992 Cathy was employed as part of Australia Post's Olympic Job Opportunities Program

That same year she started to receive scholarships from Balarinji Design Studio, then Oakley, Nike and later Qantas, Schweppes, Telstra, Ford Australia, News Ltd and Channel 7.

In 1994, after the Commonwealth Games, Cathy continue to work in the public relationship department for Australia Post until her training schedule became increasingly busy. Her scholarships ceased and Cathy phased out other forms of employment.

After the Sydney Olympics, Cathy worked as a commentator for the BBC. (Source: ANU)

Cathy first visited America as part of an international Athletics Exchange tour.

Cathy attended longer training camps in Califormia and Texas.

Cathy attended a track training program in Melbourne started by her then boyfriend, Nic Bideau.(Source: ANU)

Experiences:

Cathy contracted glandular fever in 1984, and missed two months of school. This was a “major setback” for her athletics.
— “On the track I lost all my strength, and even six months later I still wasn’t myself. For the first time I wasn’t winning; it was all I could do to finish second and third behind girls I’d easily beaten before.”

Cathy contracted shingles in 1985, and had to forsake another athletics season. (Source: ANU)


Links:

bullet.gif (981 bytes) ANU - Indigenous Australia - Cathy Freeman

ANU Indigenous Australia - Cathy Freeman

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Civics and Citizenship

Civics and Citizenship
 
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Cathy Freeman Foundation

Cathy Freeman Foundation
 
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Wikipedia

Wikipedia
 
bullet.gif (981 bytes)People and Places - Cathy Freeman

People and Places
 
bullet.gif (981 bytes)SMH - 2006

SMH
bullet.gif (981 bytes)The Australian Weekend Magazine

The Australian
 
bullet.gif (981 bytes)50 Stunning Olympic Moments

50 Stunning Olympic Moments
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Olympics

Olympics
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Sports Card World

Sports Card World
bullet.gif (981 bytes)First Race I Can Remember

First Race I Can Remember
 

YouTube: Sporting Nation: Cathy Freeman

 

 

Did You Know?
  • Cathy's first coach was her stepfather, Bruce Barber

  • By her teens Cathy had a collection of regional national titles.

  • Cathy's personal best of 48.63 seconds ranks her as the 6th fastest woman of all time.

  • At age 16 Cathy became the first ever Aboriginal Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

  • In 2008, when featuring in the television program Who Do You Think You Are?, Cathy discovered that her mother was of Chinese and English heritage as well as Aboriginal.

Who do you think you are

 

Cos I'm Free written by Andy White and sung by Christine Anu inspired by Cathy Freeman's tatto

Cos I'm Free

'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
Because I'm free-ee
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
Because I'm free-ee
A message from the other world
To every little boy and girl
Let your spirit fly until
The day I let the flag unfurl
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee
I'm faster than a shadow
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
Because I'm free-ee
I left my home and everything
I know that I'll be back again
When everything is what it seems
Reality becomes a dream
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
Freer than the wind blows
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee
All the things I wanna be
And all the places I wanna see-ee
And all the things I never had that I know are mine
All my friends and family
I know they'll always come with me
I am a messenger and I tell you why
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
Faster than a shadow
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
Freer than the wind blow-ow-ows
If I should walk, if I should run...
I know this time I'm comin' home...
'Cause I'm free-ee
Freer than the wind blows
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee
Faster than a shadow
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee
No one I have to follow
'Cause I'm free-ee
Freer than tomorrow
'Cause I'm free-ee-ee-ee
Because I-I'm Free

(Source: Lyrics Freak)

 

Activities

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Online: Create a Slide Show about Palm Island

PrimaryPrimary & MiddleMiddle

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability

Critical & Creative ThinkingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical & Creative Thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culturesAustralian Curriculum: Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

 

1. Cathy Freeman's Foundation assists Aboriginal children from Palm Island, an Aboriginal Community where Cathy's mother was born. Palm Island community is located on Great Palm Island, Queensland. Research and find out as much information as you can on Great Palm Island eg: its location, population, its history, photos and images.

2. Select one aspect - location, population, history (divide this up into past and recent), issues and challenges - to research in more detail.

3. Using Empressr (free online tool) create a slide show on Palm Island, its Aboriginal Community and their lifestyle .

Empressr

4. Present this slide show to the class or the whole school

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Offline: The Stride: Cathy Freeman Park at Your School

High SchoolSecondary

Critical & Creative ThinkingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical & Creative Thinking

NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culturesAustralian Curriculum: Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Cathy Freeman Park

"The eyes of Australia were on Cathy Freeman when she won gold in the women’s athletics 400 metres final at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Cathy’s win brought Australia its 100th Olympic gold medal, and for many the race was a symbolic victory for reconciliation.

The Stride, a line of lights set in the pathway leading to the Cauldron [in Cathy Freeman Park], represent the points of impact as her feet drove her towards the finish line.

Visitors to the Park are often seen trying to match her extraordinary gold medal winning strides as they replicate her steps along the artwork. The table below gives the details of Cathy Freeman’s strides:

Distance Metres  100   200  300  400   
Speed kilometres per hour  28.27   30.56  29.85  27.75   
Split Seconds  12.30      24.08  36.15  49.11 
Average stride metres  2.17   2.32  2.22  2.25   

(Source: Cathy Freeman Park)

You are to create "The Stride" at your school.

Process:

1. You are to get permission and help from: your Principal, PE staff and Maths staff.

2. Map out a 400 metre stretch that has been approved by the Principal.

3. Work out where Cathy's feet landed from the table above and mark each landing on the 400 m stretch.

4. Have a competition at the school to see who can match Cathy's stride for the longest period of time.

If you want this to be a permanent feature, consider....

5. Creating some artwork surrounding this stretch celebrating this great Australian.

 

Material sourced from 

ANU: Indigenous Australia

Sports Card World

Wikipedia

 

Life on the Job

Other Famous Australian Sportspersons:

Lionel Rose

Lionel Rose
Evonne Goolagong Cawley

Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Michael Milton

Michael Milton

 

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