05/04/2017 4:05 PM AEST | Updated 05/04/2017 4:38 PM AEST

Watch This Impossible Cathy Freeman Victory From The Vaults Of Yesteryear

Wow. Just wow.

Stu Forster via Getty Images
This pic is from the same year (1996), but is actually Freeman in Milan, Italy. Anyway, we thought it was kind of a cool photo because of the colours of her running top.

How did this even happen?

There is no way even the great Cathy Freeman could make up that much ground. Except that she did. She won the impossible race. Wow.

Let's go back in time to April 1996, when Freeman, then 23, was just three months off her trip to the Atlanta Olympics, where she would win silver in the 400m.

In a preparation which you'd never see these days, Freeman decided to compete in the 400m at the Stawell Gift carnival, Australia's oldest athletics meet held each Easter in the town of Stawell in western Victoria.

Without any further ado, here's the race:

Like we said, wow.

Competitors are routinely handicapped in all Stawell Gift events. It's because of the legalised betting which has long been part of the event. Freeman would have been at odds less generous than bank interest had she not given up 42 metres to the field.

Yet still she won. It took her till the last stride, but she got there.

One interesting point is how the competitor in the green shirt appears to try to elbow Freeman out of the way in the home straight. But then, as we explained to you last year, extremely weird things often happen at the Stawell Gift.

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There was big controversy over whether Talia Martin had run to the best of her ability in the lead-up to this win.

Meanwhile Freeman, as we all know, went on to win gold in the 400m in Sydney four years later after lighting the Olympic flame. The expectations of a nation were a burden of a different kind, which she handled as calmly as her 42-metre Stawell Gift handicap four years earlier.

And by the way, you can learn more about her foundation here.