Australian four-time Olympic gold medallist Betty Cuthbert dead at 79

08 August, 2017, 00:06 | Author: Felix Jensen
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Cuthbert was dubbed Australia's "Golden Girl" by media after her performance at the Melbourne Olympics.

"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.

"Athletics Australia is saddened to confirm the passing of Olympic legend Betty Cuthbert, our thoughts with her family and friends", Athletics Australia announced on Twitter.

Sydney-born Cuthbert was 18 years old when she won three gold medals at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.

It was there, she claimed her fourth and final Olympic gold medal after running a flawless 400m final.

She suffered a hamstring injury at the Rome Games four years later and briefly retired, before being coaxed back to the track to win the 400m at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

Tributes have continued to flow for Cuthbert from the athletics world and beyond.

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Having being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1969, the Australian track star passed away in Perth aged 79.

Catherine Freeman, the two-time world champion 400 runner who won Olympic gold and silver, expressed her sadness at the death of the woman who broke ground not only for Australian women in the sport but women around the world at a time when they had only just been accepted to compete in the Olympic Games.

"She always regarded that single gold medal of 1964 as a far greater triumph than any of her three in 1956".

At the Olympic Stadium, the big screen showed pictures of Cuthbert in her prime and the public address announcer asked the crowd to stand for a minute's silence.

"She loved the country and we loved her".

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

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. Sydney 2000 Olympic Champion Cathy Freeman was one of those to follow in the esteemed footsteps of the sporting legend. "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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