Legendary Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman OAM became the sixth official Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) Ambassador in Brisbane today.
The announcement was made by Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) Chairman, Peter Beattie AC and Premier of Queensland, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP at a public event in the Queensland capital.
Freeman became a global household name after her historic 400m gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games which 17 years on is regarded as one of Australia’s most significant sporting achievements and an iconic Olympic moment.
“I’m excited to join such a special group of athletes as a GC2018 Ambassador and spread the word about the Games. Australia has a long history of delivering successful major sporting events and the Gold Coast won’t be any different,” said Freeman.
“Cathy holds a special place in all Australian hearts; she embodies the Commonwealth spirit and is a welcome addition to the GC2018 family,” commented GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie AC.
The first female Aboriginal athlete to win gold at a Commonwealth Games, at Auckland 1990 at age 16, Freeman announced herself as one of the world’s best in 1994 when she won gold in both the 200m and 400m at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.
She retired from international competition in 2003 and founded the Cathy Freeman Foundation in 2007 to help broaden horizons and inspire Indigenous students to experience their full potential in school. Freeman has also played a mentor role for some of Australia’s best athletes, including 400m champion Morgan Mitchell.
The Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist joins Sally Pearson OAM, Cameron McEvoy, Anna Meares OAM, Laura Geitz and Kurt Fearnley OAM as a welcome member of the GC2018 Ambassador family.
Freeman is the sixth of a select group of high profile figures who will assist GOLDOC with the promotion of the 4-15 April 2018 Games to Australia and the rest of the world.
To mark the occasion, Freeman was presented with a commemorative surfboard – an iconic keepsake of the Gold Coast lifestyle.
Also in attendance today was GOLDOC CEO Mark Peters, Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones MP, Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, Australian sprint sensation Riley Day and a large contingent of excited junior athletes.