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Olympic gold sprinter Cathy Freeman reflects on historic win

Cathy Freeman, ran not only for herself, but for the nation, during the 400m final at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

And in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine to promote her upcoming documentary ‘Freeman’, the 47-year-old revealed her surprising first thought when crossing the finishing line.

Despite winning gold with a time of 49.11 seconds, the Indigenous Australian wished she ‘ran faster’. 

‘That’s the athlete mindset. I’m never completely satisfied. I’m always reaching for more,’ the now married mother-of-one said.

‘I laugh about it now, because the bottom line is it was a pretty good result: Olympic champ. Best in the world against this scene with all the other moving parts. But I really would have loved to have got under 49 seconds,’ she admitted.   

The notoriously private star has given director Laurence Billiet the green light to turn her story into a documentary, titled ‘Freeman’, after having declined many offers.

Reflecting on the night nearly 20 years ago, Cathy said her win was powerful in making all Australians ‘equal’ for just that tiny moment.

‘That’s so powerful. Everyone is just there celebrating a victory and it’s one of the great privileges of my life to witness.’   

Back in 2015, Cathy revealed to SBS that her road to Olympic gold had its fair share of discrimination.

In primary school in Mackay, Far North Queensland, Cathy won races but was yet to take home a trophy, with the prizes only awarded to her non-Indigenous peers.

‘I think at the time I didn’t really know what was going on,’ she said. ‘Goodness gracious I didn’t really need to get a gold medal or a trophy because to me, all that mattered was that I crossed the line first.’

‘What did upset me at [the] time was my parents’ reaction; they were more upset than me.’    

Despite the social injustice, Cathy said she never let it ‘compromise’ or ‘distract’ her. 


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