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Tuesday, September 26
Retirement, politics all part of discussion

SYDNEY, Australia -- Less than 24 hours after winning gold in the women's 400 meters, Cathy Freeman was asked about her long-term future but preferred to focus only on her next race.

Cathy Freeman
Gold-medalist Cathy Freeman of Australia, center, has plenty of options in her life right now, but wants to concentrate on a massage and the 200 for the time being.

Freeman was asked about retirement, about a possible career in politics and about where she plans to live in the future during a news conference Tuesday with other Australian medalists from the day before.

Instead, she said she's concentrating on the first round of the women's 200 meters on Wednesday (Tuesday night U.S. time).

"It's certainly more relaxing going into the deuce. The expectations aren't as high as going into the 400," she said. "I don't know if it gets any better than this. I don't know if I care to search for that answer."

Freeman, 27, said she was not sure whether she'll still be running at the time of the 2004 Athens Games, and brushed aside continuing suggestions by Australian political leaders that she enter public service.

Some political leaders have suggested that Freeman, the first Aborigine to win an individual Olympic gold medal, could be a powerful voice on indigenous affairs.

"Politics is something that isn't for me just for the moment. I haven't had the time to focus my energy in that field. My running career isn't over yet," she said. "But who knows down the track, when you're supposedly older and wiser."

Freeman is married to an American and spent most of the past six months in the United States and Europe while preparing for the Olympics. But Freeman said she is trying not to think too far ahead.

"Every second my thoughts take me somewhere else. Retirement? Sure, it's crossed my mind. Living in another country? Sure it's crossed my mind," she said.

"What I love so much about life is that it's a mystery and who knows what lies ahead. My plan right now is just to run the 200 tomorrow. And I want to get a massage right away."


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