Cathy Freeman. 30-year-old Cathy Freeman - born Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman - is from Queensland State and considered one of the greatest Australian heroines as well as one of the greatest star athletes of our time. As an outspoken Aborigine with a successful athletic track record, she has become a role model for minorities around the world.

She experienced her major professional breakthrough in her primary discipline, the 400metre sprint, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where she won the silver medal. A string of triumphs then secured her 22 gold medals in a row in the 400-metre sprint, including gold at the 1997 World Athletic Games in Athens.

Still another World Athletics gold was added to her collection when she won the 400-metre sprint in Seville in 1999, but it was at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney where Cathy Freeman established herself in earnest as one of the world's greatest and most popular sports icons. First she carried the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony and then she made a childhood dream come true by winning the 400metre sprint on home turf in Sydney in front of 110,000 spectators.

"I am delighted and honoured to be a Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador and to be involved in the 2005 celebrations of his life," says Cathy Freeman.

"Story telling is a great art and a fundamental part of my indigenous culture where stories are passed down from generation to generation ? keeping them alive and in the hearts of both the story teller and the listener.  I am really looking forward to sharing his stories with a wider audience and being part of the celebrations."