At the 2000 Olympics, Cathy Freeman had become a crowd favorite and a symbol for the Games. Her Aboriginal heritage, combined with her high-level sporting prowess, drew in fans outside of track even before the start of the Games. But she was no unknown on the track: she was the reigning Olympic silver-medalist, the reigning 2-time World Champion, and the best 400m runner in the world during the 2000 season. Australian fans couldn't have picked a better person to focus home-grown hopes on during the year. And she produced, in a memorable and drizzly evening, she won the 400m final in a season-best of 49.11. Her win satisfied the home fans, and was only the second-ever gold for an Aboriginal Australian, but the first in an individual event. And even more, her win was the 1st gold for Australian track & field in 12 years, and the overall 100th gold in Olympic history. After Sydney, she competed internationally sporadically, but did reappear at the 2002 Commonwealth Games to help the AUS 4x400 team win gold in Manchester, adding to her career medal total there of 5. Freeman offcially retired in 2003. But that night in 2000 was the highlight for most of her career, and a performance for the record books and the memories alike.
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At Rio 2016's Barra Olympic Park
Header: Kallimamaro stadium in Athens, site of the first modern Olympics in 1896