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For many Australians, our greatest sporting moment was when runner Cathy Freeman won the 400 metre final at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, uniting a nation.

A few years earlier, at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, she had provided another defining moment as she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal flags during her victory lap, demonstrating her love and pride in her heritage. In 1998, she was named Australian of the Year.

Through her dedication in sport and her commitment to reconciliation, Freeman has been an inspiration.

Says artist Craig Ruddy, who painted this portrait of Freeman for the 2011 Archibald Prize: ‘She has such a humble and down-to-earth charm. I really wanted to capture this along with her strength, determination and free-spirited nature.’

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