Disappointment and adversity can be catalysts for greatness.
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.
Cathy Freeman @SaxtonSpeakers Australia SpeaksCathy Freeman is one of Australia's most admired and respected athletes: an Australian superstar and an Australian icon. As one of Australia's most popular high profile personalities, Catherine is recognised for her modesty, free spirit and passion for her family and country. An Olympic gold medallist, Cathy drew international attention to her achievements during her victory lap at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, where she proudly brandished both the Australia and Aboriginal flags. Four billion people watched Cathy light the Olympic cauldron at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, cementing her position on the world stage.
Catherine was absolutely wonderful all day. Every Casey staff member that came in contact with her was impressed by her relaxed and down to earth personality. More importantly feedback from ... keep readingthe public has been outstanding. Many children have told us meeting Catherine at the GP Run was the best day of their lives. A lot of feedback we have received from the public was that this year was the best GP Run ever and I'm sure an enormous amount of that feedback came to us because of Catherine's performance on the day. City of Casey
Catherine was fantastic, real and raw. Exactly what we wanted to see and perfect for our conference and tone.
Cathy was the perfect fit for our audience, lovely to work with and a privilege to engage with someone of such a genuine nature. Our audience were fully engaged and the whole series was a great success. Thank you.