The eastern grandstand of Sydney’s Olympic stadium will be named after Cathy Freeman in tribute to the Indigenous runner who won the 400m gold medal at the venue during the 2000 Games.
Freeman, who also lit the Olympic cauldron at the start of the Games, said she was honoured by the decision announced by the New South Wales state government on Friday.
“This stadium and Sydney Olympic Park hold a truly special place in my heart and that will never change,” the 50-year-old said.
“I hope that my story continues to inspire generations of girls and boys to chase their own dreams in sport and life.”
The grandstand will be named ‘Cathy Freeman Stand’.
Watched by a record TV audience in Australia, Freeman’s 400m triumph made her the first Aboriginal Australian to claim an Olympic gold in track and field, and the second to win any Olympic title following Nova Peris’s field hockey gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Freeman also took the 400m silver at Atlanta and won back-to-back world titles in the distance.
“For the past two Summer Olympic Games, Australia’s Olympic team has comprised more women than men, all of whom have an inspirational story,” Australian Olympic Committee President Ian Chesterman said in a statement.
“But it’s Cathy Freeman’s achievement that continues to shine a light on what young women can achieve if they have a dream and they pursue it. We owe her a great debt.”
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