Freeman’s missing suit keeps its secrets

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 23 Desember 2014 | 20.01

Cathy Freeman lights the Olympic flame to complete the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympics. Source: Supplied

THE bodysuit runner Cathy Freeman wore to light the Olympic flame at the 2000 Sydney Games has turned up, but the question of where it has been for more than 14 years after it went missing following the opening ceremony ­remains unanswered.

Police and the Australian Olympic Committee are working to determine if the suit is authentic after it was given anonymously to the National Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But authentication should be easy, the Olympic rings on Freeman's suit were upside down, with designer Jennifer Irwin yesterday admitting the mistake occurred "in a frantic rush" the night before.

"I sewed the suit up around midnight when I was told who would be wearing it," Ms Irwin said yesterday. "On the original one I sewed the Olympic rings upside down."

After lighting the flame ­before 110,000 spectators and hundreds of millions around the world, Freeman slipped out of the Lycra suit and left it hanging on a peg in a dressing room at Sydney Olympic Stadium. It had not been seen again, until now.

The suit has been missing for 14 years. Source: AP

Cathy Freeman heads up the stairs to light the cauldron. Source: News Limited

"It has been a great mystery since 2000 and it is a suit that we all want to see again," Australian Olympic Committee secretary-general Fiona de Jong said.

"This is a pretty unique item of clothing. If it can be vali-dated we would like to see it celebrated and allow all Australians to see it.

"That would be a wonderful moment for Australian sport."

Ms Irwin said she had made a replica of the suit which she believed was on display with other Olympic memorabilia.

After Freeman won gold in the 400m race in Sydney, the hooded bodysuit she wore ­became more famous than the one used for the ceremony.

But as the years passed people began realising how great the moment had been when Freeman lit the flame and a ­nation collectively held its breath during a mechanical glitch with the cauldron.

Olympic officials never gave up hope that the bodysuit would be recovered and kept in Australia for posterity.

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