Cathy Freeman has emerged as the firm favourite in a new race – this time to be honoured by having a stand named after her at the stadium where she won Olympic gold
- Accor Stadium grandstand to be named after female athlete
- Freeman is favourite, although others like Sam Kerr are in the mix
- Public can have its say with decision to be made before World Cup
Cathy Freeman made history when she claimed gold at the Sydney Games and now the Aussie star could be honoured with a stand named after her at the stadium where she lit the Olympic flame.
NSW Premier Chris Minns has made good on his pre-election promise to name the eastern grandstand at Accor Stadium, previously known as Stadium Australia, after a prominent female athlete.
Suggestions have been made open to the public with a panel of judges and state cabinet to make the final decision.
Freeman’s triumph in the 400m final during the Games has the superstar athlete placed as the Premier’s personal preference.
‘Cathy Freeman’s victory wasn’t just a sporting event that was a prominent one for female athletes, it’s one of the most important and recognisable and historical sporting achievements in sport, full stop,’ the Premier said.
Freeman carries both the Australian and the Aboriginal flags following her triumph in the final of the 400m freestyle at the Sydney Olympics in 2000
Freeman lights the Olympic cauldron at the 2000 Olympics, an iconic moment before her incredible win in the 400m final
The NSW Government website announced that a female Australian sportsperson’s name will adorn the grandstand to recognise their contribution to sport and inspire the next generation of female heroes.
The public is invited to nominate their choice, with the decision to be made before the opening match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the stadium.
Although Freeman is the favourite, other icons are also being considered.
Matildas star Sam Kerr is another standout nomination and will lead the Matildas into the World Cup at the venue later this year.
She has won multiple championships with Perth Glory in the W-League, and she is the all-time leading scorer in the league’s history.
The Chelsea star has also excelled on the international stage, leading the Australian women’s soccer team to the quarter-finals of the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cups.
Australian Paralympic wheelchair racer and leading coach Alix Louise Sauvage is another athlete who’s firmly in the mix.
Paralympic Games gold medallist Alix Louise Sauvage and Freeman reunite in 2010 at Sydney Olympic Park where they shared the honours of re-lighting the cauldron
Sauvage won nine Olympic gold medals and is today working as a coach, making her another leading candidate for the honour
Kerr will lead the Matildas into battle at the FIFA Women’s World Cup at Accor Stadium and is a fitting candidate to have the eastern grandstand named after her
Sauvage is widely considered the most renowned disabled sportswoman in Australia, with nine gold medals and four silver medals at four Paralympic Games, and 11 gold and two silver medals at three IPC Athletics World Championships.
Freeman won double gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada before thrilling the country in 2000.
Nominations can be made online for the next month before a judging panel and cabinet make a final decision.