- Category : Sports-Track-and-Field
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (3,42,52,57)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 1
Australian Aboriginal sprinter, a talented and determined woman from Palm Island in tropical Queensland, 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 in Sydney, at which she lit the Olympic Flame.
At the time of her birth, her siblings included a brother, 12, and sister, 7, who had been born with cerebral palsy. Two more brothers followed in 1974 and 1976. In 1978, her severely-diabetic father returned to his people, and in 1979 her mother took in a railway guard as a lodger, marrying him in 1982. While her natural athletic ability was partly inherited from her father, Freeman’s stepfather gave her the discipline to structure her running.
In 1984 Freeman set State age records in the 100m and 200m sprints and high-jump, winning Gold in the 200m sprint and high-jump and Silver in the 100m sprint at the pacific School Games. Freeman won more gold medals in 1985, and in 1988 received a scholarship to a college in Toowoomba. In 1989, another scholarship took her to a school near Beaudesert, south of Brisbane. On 3 February 1990, she became the first Aborigine to win a Commonwealth Games track and field medal, running the third leg of the women’s 4 x 100m relay at the Auckland Games. The team won gold. Two days later her only sister died from an acute asthma attack.
In 1991 Freeman was named Young Australian of the Year, and she moved to Melbourne with her partner, Nick Bideau. She trained under Olympic silver medallist Raelene Boyle, who dropped her from the Tokyo world titles.
Freeman then found a new coach and changed her focus from the 100m and 200m to the 400m. In 1992 she became the first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at an Olympics when she qualified for the Barcelona Games. However, she failed to qualify. In 1993 she came fifth in the world 200m title at Stuttgart. In 1994 Freeman won her first gold double at the Commonwealth Games in Canada, taking the 200m and 400m titles, and silver in the 4 x 100m.
While she was the first person to take Commonwealth titles in the 200m and 400m at the same Games in record times, her stay was marked by controversy when she ran a victory lap carrying the Aboriginal flag. The head of the Australian team publicly condemned her actions saying that Freeman should only have carried the Australian flag, but the majority of Australians supported Freeman’s actions. Among indigenous Australians she becomes a sign of hope for reconciliation with whites. Her father died that year.
At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Freeman finished second in the 400m and sixth in the 200m, while her French rival, Marie-Jose Perec, won gold in both events. Later that year she became the IAAF 400m grand prix champion, beating Perec twice to receive the award. She separated from Bideau at that time.
In 1998 Freeman became Australian of the Year, as the first person to receive both the youth and open awards. In Oslo on 9 July, she bruised a bone in her left foot, and on 26 August sadly withdrew from the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games. On 19 September 1999, she married American Alexander ‘Sandy’ Bodecker in a private ceremony in Portland, Oregon.
In a career highlight, Freeman stood under a waterfall of ice-cold water and lit the Olympic torch during the opening of the 2000 Sydney Games in a ceremony that paid homage to Australia’s female athletic and swimming greats. After lying in bed with laryngitis just days before, the asthmatic Freeman became the first Aboriginal Olympic individual gold medallist when she won the 400m in 49.11s. In a neat twist, this was Australia’s 100th Olympic gold medal. Freeman’s rival Perec had arrived at the Sydney Games but left in a strange mood before the competition.
In 2001, Freeman remained in litigation with Bideau who has sued her for a share of the millions of dollars she earned during their romantic and working partnership. She thus also took several months off for recreational travel, eventually landing in Portland with her husband. After being named the world’s No. 1 sportswoman for 2000 at the Laureus Award in Monte Carlo in May 2001, Freeman accepted her award in a sequin dress, but--being unused to high heels--she accidentally stumbled on the ceremonial staircase into the arms of a startled Prince Albert. Away from the media spotlight, Freeman was active in charity work for Portland’s homeless people, learning Italian, and being happy to remain incognito in her down-to-earth runners and a track suit.
Freeman announced her separation from Bodecker in February 2003. Later that year, she began dating Australian actor Joel Edgerton. Their relationship ended in early 2005. In October 2006 Freeman announced her engagement to Melbourne stockbroker James Murch. They married on 11 April 2009 and Freeman gave birth to Ruby Anne Susie Murch on 8 July 2011 at 8:21am.