One of the greatest mysteries in Australian Olympic history appears to have been finally solved.
The long-lost bodysuit worn by Cathy Freeman in the 2000 Olympic Games opening ceremony looks to have been found after a garment was anonymously mailed to the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) last week.
“It just came in the post,” a Melbourne Cricket Club representative told AAP.
Victorian Police are currently conducting authentication checks on the garment with the final word expected to come from Freeman herself.
“Only Cathy would be the one who can really speak to that,” Australian Olympic Committee secretary-general Fiona de Jong told reporters in Sydney.
The custom-made, silvery-white bodysuit was worn by Freeman when she lit the Olympic flame in a historic, symbolic moment of reconciliation.
It vanished from her dressing room after the ceremony prompting speculation that it had either been stolen and souvenired, or even thrown away by a cleaner.
“It’s a suit we never thought we’d see again and we’re just delighted that Santa has delivered an early Christmas present to the Olympic movement,” said de Jong.
“If it is indeed the suit then it’s a wonderful moment for Australian sporting history.”
Athletics Australia described the find as a fantastic result.
“It is a very iconic Australian moment, and Catherine’s involvement was a very proud moment for a true champion of our sport,” said a spokesperson.
The AOC indicated that it would be up to Freeman to determine the future of the suit if it was validated.
The garment was sent to the MCC headquarters at the MCG which houses the National Sport Museum which exhibits, among other items, the green racing suit worn by Freeman when she won the Olympic 400m gold medal later at the Sydney Games.