Remembering the extraordinary Golden Girl, Betty Cuthbert

Remembering the extraordinary Golden Girl, Betty Cuthbert

Remembering the extraordinary Golden Girl, Betty Cuthbert

Betty Cuthbert, an Australian sprinter who was a standout at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics with her sweep of three gold medals, and who drew even greater admiration from her countrymen later in life, when multiple sclerosis had robbed her of the ability to run, died August 6 in Perth, Australia.

Eight years later in Tokyo, she became the only person in history to have won Olympic gold in 100, 200 and 400 meters.

She also contributed to Australian relay teams, setting world records.

Two years earlier, she had made a memorable appearance at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, bearing the Olympic flame as a fellow athlete pushed her in a wheelchair.

"Betty battled her illness for many years and showed tremendous courage, but more importantly she always managed to smile", Coates said.

Robert de Castella also used Twitter to pay tribute, writing "RIP Legend Betty Cuthbert, an inspiration to us all in so many ways". Only Ian Thorpe's five Olympic gold beats Cuthbert's tally.

Betty Cuthbert carried the Sydney 2000 Olympic torch while in a wheelchair.

"It's a very sad day, there's no doubt about it", Freeman said.

Betty Cuthbert, Australia's most successful Olympic track and field athlete, has passed away aged 79.

"I am so sad to hear of the passing of Betty Cuthbert", she tweeted. "She was easy to talk to, easy to approach and gave great guidance".

"Everything I did that required effort, I opened my mouth", she said.

Athletics Australia announced her death on Monday while describing her as an "Olympic legend", Xinhua news agency reports. She'd bought some tickets to attend the Games as a spectator because she wasn't certain she'd qualify for the team.

"She loved her nation".

In 1985 Cuthbert was elected into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame.

The image of Cuthbert winning the 100m final at Melbourne has been immortalised in bronze. "When I was growing up", she recalled, "I just liked running".

Cuthbert, who set nine world records during her career, was the first Australian to win triple gold. "I think there is a reason why I have MS and that is to inspire other people who are suffering from the disease", she said.

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