Cathy Freeman and Australia's Indigenous heritage : a new beginning for an old nation at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

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White, Leanne (2013) Cathy Freeman and Australia's Indigenous heritage : a new beginning for an old nation at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 19 (2). pp. 153-170. ISSN 1352-7258 (print) 1470-3610 (online)


This paper explores the interconnections between Australia’s most significant sporting event, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and Australia’s Indigenous culture and heritage. At this historic moment for the nation, Aboriginal Australian athlete Cathy Freeman came to embody Australia’s possible future and represented a vital legacy of the event. The paper examines representations of heritage and identity at the of the Sydney Games and how these images were played out in wider discussions about the future of the Australian nation state. The choice of Cathy Freeman was widely considered the ‘right’ choice and served to emphasise the highly considerable indigenous themes throughout the Opening Ceremony. The emphasis on indigenous culture continued during the Games and into the Closing Ceremony in a way that was partly orchestrated and partly developed a life of its own due to the actions of particular individuals. The Sydney Opening Ceremony was a significant moment for all Australians and pointed the way for how the nation might present itself to the international community in the new millennium

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Special issue: examining the Olympics : heritage, identy and performance

Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/13527258.2012.670127
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1506 Tourism
Historical > FOR Classification > 1599 Other Commerce Management, Tourism and Services
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Hospitality Tourism and Marketing
Keywords Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Opening Ceremony, Australia; Indigenous peoples, culture and heritage, reconciliation, Cathy Freeman
Citations in Scopus 15 - View on Scopus
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