Sport

Australian Olympic legend Betty Cuthbert dies, aged 79

Australian Olympic legend Betty Cuthbert dies, aged 79

Australian Olympic Historian Harry Gordon captures that moment best; "The heroine of the main stadium, the athlete who became known as Australia's Golden Girl, was a tearaway sprinter called Betty Cuthbert, then aged 18".

Cuthbert, the only athlete to ever win gold in the 100m, 200m, and 400m, died aged 79 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.

During her career, she set world records at 60m, 100 yards, 200m, 220 yards and 440 yards, and remains the only Olympian to have won gold in all sprint events.

JOHN COATES, Australian Olympic Committee president - "Betty battled her illness for many years and showed tremendous courage, but more importantly she always managed to smile".

Cuthbert won the 100m, 200m and anchored the team that won the 4 x 100m relay that year, forever cementing herself in the hearts of Australians as the Golden Girl of Australian track and field.

"She was a most modest champion".

Betty Cuthbert competing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Cuthbert winning Olympic gold in 1964 in the 400m event.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and a vast array of Olympic athletes paid tribute to Cuthbert, who was born in western Sydney in 1938.

She was notable for her distinctive approach to her sport, sprinting with her mouth wide open and lifting her knees high.

"Betty was an icon of Australian and worldwide athletics and it is with great sadness that we learned of her passing this morning", stated Arbib.

MARLENE MATHEWS, Cuthbert's greatest Australian rival - "I have never met anyone that had such great faith and determination".

Cuthbert was an inaugural inductee to the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall of Fame in March 2012 with Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis among others.

"I'm so happy I got to meet such a tremendous and gracious role model, and Olympic Champion".

A member of the IAAF Hall of Fame, Cuthbert is also a Legend of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Sydney 2000 Olympic Champion Cathy Freeman was one of those to follow in the esteemed footsteps of the sporting legend.

She was the only Australian in action on day four, finishing seventh in her heat and failing to progress to the final. I just think how tough she was.


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