Cathy Freeman running for Australia in the Olympics

1973 –

Cathy Freeman had a difficult childhood, and as an Indigenous Australian, she suffered discrimination. Although her talent in running was obvious, Cathy was also a member of a minority group that historically had not had access to the same resources that other athletes had. But Cathy had a dream to win an Olympic gold medal, and she kept her eyes on that prize.

At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Cathy lit the flame at the opening ceremony, and went on to win a gold medal in the 400 metres – the first Indigenous Australian to win an individual Olympic gold medal. Whether it’s speaking up for rights of the Indigenous people or competing on a track, Cathy has always shown great resilience and has never let obstacles stop her from achieving her goals.

Are you able to remain resilient and keep going despite obstacles in your way?

Jesse Owens is another amazing sportsperson. He faced discrimination as an African American. He was a talented athlete who broke several records even while at school. As a Black American though, he wasn’t allowed a scholarship to help him train. He made the US Olympic team and went to Berlin, Germany for the 1936 Olympic games. Hitler was in power and keen to show the racial supremacy of White people. Jesse Owens won four gold medals in track and field, much to Hitler’s annoyance. Sadly, Owens didn’t return a national hero as racial segregation was also happening the United States – it was many years before his greatness was appreciated and rewarded.

“The battles that count aren’t the one for gold medals. The struggles within yourself – the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us – that’s where it’s at.” – Jesse Owens