Olympic Games 2024: Cathy Freeman Sydney 2000 Olympics 400m bombshell, didn’t run as fast as she could’ve, gold medal regret, latest news

Australian sporting legend Cathy Freeman has revealed she feels a tinge of regret over her iconic gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

The indigenous great took the enormous weight of a nation’s pressure on her shoulders during the Games and, dressed in the green and gold leotard, won gold in the women’s 400 metres.

But Freeman’s 49.11 seconds was less than her personal best, a 48.63 run when she won silver at the Atlanta Games in 1996, and for that reason she is disappointed when she looks back on the iconic Sydney run.

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Freeman was keen to compete with French rival Marie-Jose Perec, the winner of the previous two gold medals, but Perec fled Australia before the race after intense media attention and an alleged confrontation with a man in her hotel.

“I had gotten used to the expectations being placed on me,” Freeman said during a Melbourne United NBL business lunch on Friday.

“I almost needed it, because it kind of helps guide you and push you beyond what you think you’re capable of doing.

“That said, I don’t think I’ve really fulfilled my potential as an athlete either, but that’s another story… learning to let off steam is really important, and finding freedom in life is key.”

He added: “I didn’t run as fast as I could have.

“I let myself down. That’s why I was so disappointed that Marie-Jose Perec wasn’t competing because in her prime… we would have taken the women’s 400 meters to the next level.

“I remember being on the warm-up track and hearing it wasn’t going to be in Sydney, and not on the start line. I remember for a split second my heart broke because contestants love to compete.

“When she wasn’t there it was a bit of a blow, but what will you do? I won’t chase her. I just had to move forward very quickly.

Originally published as ‘I didn’t run as fast as I could’: the 2000 Sydney Olympics bombshell by Cathy Freeman

Read related topics:Sydney

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