Mandurah's golden girl Betty Cuthbert dies at 79

by Steven Clarke August 10, 2017, 0:06
Mandurah's golden girl Betty Cuthbert dies at 79

Australia's sports fraternity is saluting sprinting's golden girl Betty Cuthbert, who has died aged 79 with an Olympic feat still unmatched.

Cuthbert won the 100m and 200m double as a teenager at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and returned after a brief retirement to claim the 400 in Tokyo eight years later.

Cuthbert then combined with Shirley de la Hunty, Norma Fleming (Croker) and Fleur Wenham (Mellor) to win the 4x100m relay while setting a new world record.

"Betty's history of success in athletics is inspiring", continued Arbib.

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.

A wheelchair-bound Cuthbert was part of the torch relay at the Sydney 2000 opening ceremony.

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

The Chief Executive of Athletics Australia, Michael Hall, says Betty Cuthbert ranks as one of Australia's greatest track and field champions. Ms. Cuthbert cut an unusual profile, propelling herself around the track with her mouth gaping open.

The Australian Olympic Committee said an example of Cuthbert's humility was how she prepared for the first Olympics staged in Australia. She's such a down to earth, lovely lady. She'd bought some tickets to attend the Games as a spectator because she wasn't certain she'd qualify for the team.

"God meant everything to me", she said later. She failed to advance in the 100m and was forced to withdraw from the 200m.

Athletics Australia has sought permission from the IAAF for athletes who wished to, to be able to wear black arm bands when they compete in London as a tribute to Cuthbert. "I mean we've had some wonderful names across our history of the sport but when you take a moment like now and look back at what she did achieve, she'd have to be right up there in the conversation as one of our true greats".

Cuthbert, who passed away overnight, is the sole athlete to win Olympic gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

First experiencing symptoms of the disease in 1969, she spent most of her later life campaigning to raise awareness about the condition.

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