Catherine (Cathy) Astrid Salome Freeman was born on 16th February in Mackay, Queensland. Catherine is Greek for ‘pure’, Astrid, German for ‘star’ and Salome is Hebrew for ‘Peace’.
Catherine had an older brother and sister and two younger brothers, and her memories of her early childhood were ones of having a lot of fun running around and playing with her brothers and friends.
From an early age she realised 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. Catherine Freeman’s stepfather, Bruce Barber, coached her until 1989. Catherine Freeman’s family did not have a lot of money and, like many Australian Aboriginals, suffered discrimination from white Australians. Catherine remembers winning one race at a primary school competition, when she had to watch on as the white girls she had beaten received trophies.
It was when she was just a young girl that she began to dream about being the World’s
greatest female athlete and being Olympic Champion. A dream that kept her focused on her training and helped her to go on to achieve her dream.
In 1987 Catherine won a scholarship to Fairholme School but moved on to Kooralbyn
International School to be coached professionally by Mike Danila.
She moved to Melbourne in 1990 after winning a gold medal in the 4×100m relay at the
Auckland Commonwealth Games.
Cathy Freeman is an inspiration to young Indigenous people all over Australia
Cathy Freeman hanging out with school kids on Palm Island