Golden girl Freeman retires - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Golden girl Freeman retires

By Maria Hawthorne 16/07/2003 05:37:07 AM Comments (0)

Cathy Freeman's reign as Australian athletics' golden girl has ended after she announced her retirement, saying she has lost the desire to run.

The Sydney Olympic 400m gold medallist told Australian athletics head coach Keith Connor of her decision over coffee at a hotel near Heathrow airport as Connor made a brief stopover in London.

"She said 'my heart's not in it, I just don't have that passion anymore'," Connor told AAP.

"I said `fair enough' and then we just talked through dealing with it.

"She's obviously sad, but at the same time it was a huge relief, a huge weight off her shoulders with the anticipation of others and the expectations of how others were going to take it."

Freeman, who made history as the first Aborigine to compete in an individual track and field event and was the mainstay of Australia's athletics team for more than a decade, did not believe she would ever return to the highs of the Sydney Olympics, where she lit the flame at the opening ceremony before going on to win gold.

"I won't ever have the same fulfilling moment as I already have had," she told The Age newspaper.

"I don't have the same hunger. I know what it takes to be a champion, to be the best in the world, and I just don't have that feeling right now. I'm tired all of a sudden."

Four weeks ago, Freeman pulled out of the individual 400m at next month's World Championships in Paris but said she would still run the 4x400m relay.

Connor changed his flights to see Freeman on his way to the Australian team camp in Italy, and confirmed that her career was over.

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