The eastern grandstand at Sydney’s Accor Stadium has today been renamed in honour of Australian athletic legend Cathy Freeman.
The newly named ‘Cathy Freeman Stand’, the first venue in NSW to name a stand after a women, follows the public being invited to nominate a sportswoman for the accolade by the Venues NSW agency.
Its naming is based on the grandstand being where thousands of spectators watched the athlete light the Olympic torch to signal the start of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and famously win the 400m gold 10 days later.
That victory in front of a home crowd of 112,524 spectators, Freeman became the first Indigenous Australian to win an individual Olympic gold medal.
Speaking at today’s naming ceremony, Freeman advised “I am deeply honoured and humbled by this recognition.
“This stadium and Sydney Olympic Park hold a truly special place in my heart and that will never change.
“I hope that my story continues to inspire generations of girls and boys to chase their own dreams in sport and life.
"Like the rest of Australia, I cheered on the Matildas during the FIFA Women's World Cup and I can't wait to see future generations of Australian female athletes make their mark."
NSW Premier Chris Minns added "it's about time we name a grandstand in NSW after a woman, and I can't think of a better athlete then Cathy Freeman.”
The NSW Government has also commissioned a giant permanent mural at the stadium to mark the performance of the Matildas at the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The artwork will be installed on the external facade of the eastern side of the stadium.
It is the second award for Freeman this year after she was also shortlisted for the Wilderness Society Karajia Award for her children's book The Heartbeat of the Land.
Images: Australian athletic legend Cathy Freeman at Accor Stadium today (top) and plaques inside the venue marking the naming of the Cathy Freeman stand (middle and below).
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