Film

“Goosebumps”: Everyone Was Absolutely Floored By The ABC’s Cathy Freeman Documentary

"Cathy Freeman has a way with words that is sheer poetry. I’ve never heard anyone describe things the way she does."

ABC's Cathy Freeman documentary 'Freeman' leaves audience astonished

On Sunday night, the ABC premiered a new documentary on legendary sprinter Cathy Freeman’s historic win at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Audiences flocked to Twitter to share their strong feelings, as viewers reflected on Freeman’s resilience and sportsmanship.

FREEMAN, directed by Laurence Billiet, comes at the 20th anniversary of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Featuring interviews with Freeman, it reflects on her lifelong love for running, the roads that took her to the world stage, and the immense pressure she faced during the 2000 Olympics as an athlete and a symbol for so much more.

It also covers the controversy she found herself within at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, where she draped herself in the Aboriginal flag — an ‘unofficial’ and therefore banned flag —  after winning gold in the 400m race.

As Belinda Duarte wrote for the Guardian, “FREEMAN is more than a documentary about a race and the woman who won it. It documents a moment in time when a nation was challenged about its identity through a world-class athlete who was anchored in her culture and intention to win Olympic gold. This moment united a nation like never before in the history of Australia. It was a historic moment that grounded its people in an uncommon place.”

On Twitter, people were floored by the 60-minute documentary, with many in particular praising Freeman’s “vivid” and “passionate” interviews.

“Cathy Freeman has a way with words that is sheer poetry,” wrote Magda Szubanksi. “I’ve never heard anyone describe things the way she does. She allows us a sense of what it must feel like to live in her free, unbound, limitless body and soul. A place where separateness and gravity do not exist.”

“You couldn’t script the story and myth of @CathyFreeman into existence, and #FreemanABC – this unexpectedly beautiful marriage of dance, sport, history and politics – really does it justice,” wrote Benjamin Law. “Goosebumps.”

Where many were prompted to reflect on where they were and how they felt when Freeman won — becoming the second Indigenous Australian to win a gold Olympic medal, and the first in an individual met — others were simply astonished by her strength of character.

Others found it to be one of the most uplifting and transcendent watches of the year, momentarily washing away the muck of 2020.

You can watch FREEMAN on iView now, and revisit her 2000 win below.