'Golden Girl' Betty Cuthbert dies, aged 79

Tributes are pouring in for Australia's four-time Olympic gold medallist Betty Cuthbert
ANITA JONES FAIRFAX Tributes are pouring in for Australia's four-time Olympic gold medallist Betty Cuthbert
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08 August, 2017

"Betty was the "Golden Girl" of the track and a national heroine", said AOC President John Coates.

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

Cuthbert did not compete at the Rome Olympics in 1960 due to injury, but added to her gold medal tally in Tokyo in 1964 with her victory in the 400m.

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

Cuthbert impressed as an 18-year-old at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, winning gold medals in the 100, 200 and 4x100 metres relay races.

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

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

The only Australian among the 10 inaugural inductees to the athletics hall of fame in 2012, she won her treble at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics when she was 18.

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

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One of Australia's greatest Olympians, Cuthbert was the country's first athlete inducted into the worldwide track and field federation's Hall of Fame.

"I am so sad to hear of the passing of Betty Cuthbert", she wrote.

"Betty is an inspiration and her story will continue to inspire Australian athletes for generations to come".

JANA PITTMAN, two-time 400m hurdles world champion (told Fox Sports): "She was an icon for our sport".

She took home gold for the 100m sprint, 200m sprint, and the 4x100m relay.

"I'm so happy I got to meet such a tremendous and gracious role model". Four Olympic gold medals was a feat that went unsurpassed until 2004 when Ian Thorpe was at his peak.

"Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track", tweeted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, while fellow track legend Cathy Freeman said: "Thank you for the inspirational memories, Betty Cuthbert".

"It was the only ideal race I have ever run", she later said of that victory.


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