Highlights

1973: Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman is born on February 16 in Mackay, Queensland. She is the daughter of former Aussie Rules footballer Norman and wife Cecilia. She is the third of five children.

1978: Father Norman leaves the home and Bruce Barber moves in with Cecilia. Barber becomes her first coaching mentor.

1981: Freeman runs first race at St Joseph's School.

1988: Attends exclusive Fairholme College in Toowoomba.

1990: Wins Commonwealth gold in Auckland as 16-year-old in relay after team-mates protest against plans to exclude her from team.

1991: Freeman hooks up with journalist Nick Bideau who becomes her partner and introduces her to coach Peter Fortune.

1992: Competes in Barcelona Olympics but fails to shine in 400m and the 4x400m relay. She is first Australian Aboriginal Track and Field athlete to compete at Olympics.

1994: Attends Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada where she wins 400m and creates a sensation by doing her lap of honour with the Aboriginal flag as well as the Australian standard. But Australian team disqualified from relay final.

1995: Fourth in 400m at World Championships in Gothenburg.

1996: Wins silver medal behind Marie-Jose Perec of France in Atlanta Olympics at 400m and reaches semi-finals in 200m. Later beats Perec in Brussels at 400m. Splits with Nick Bideau.

1997: Wins World Championships in Athens and repeats flag gesture.

1998: Named Australian of the year. Misses Commonwealth Games with foot injury and splits with Fortune.

1999: Revives "Team Freeman" with Bideau and Fortune although relationship with Bideau is professional only. By now engaged to Alexander Bodecker.

Carries Australian flag at Opening Ceremony of Seville World Championships and wins gold medal.

2000: The Opening Ceremony has a large Aboriginal segment and Freeman becomes the first still-competing athlete to be given the honour of lighting the cauldron.

She wins gold medal with a brilliant run to become the first Aboriginal Australian to do so in an individual Olympic event and, with permission from Olympics supremo Juan Antonio Samaranch, does the lap of honour with both flags.

Comes seventh in 200m and fifth in 4x400m relay final.

2001: Takes a year off, learns Italian and living in Rome.

2002: Decides not to compete in Manchester Commonwealth Games, preferring to care for cancer-stricken husband Bodecker but later reconsiders and participates in 4x400m relay won by Australia.

2003: First defeat at 400m since 1998 at hands of Jana Pittman.

July 15: Retires from athletics.