Friday, 22 September, 2017

Remembering the extraordinary Golden Girl, Betty Cuthbert

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
Clarence Duncan | 08 August, 2017, 00:37

Cuthbert was an inaugural inductee to the IAAF Hall of Fame, and is also a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame.

Four years later in Rome, an injury early on saw her miss out completely, and she retired for 18 months, working in her family's nursery, before returning to the track in time to win gold in the 4x110 yards relay at the '62 Commonwealth games, and two years later, gold in the 400m at the Tokyo games.

At just 18 years of age she won three gold medals at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay events.

Cuthbert remained strongly religious throughout her life, a quality to which she attributes her fortitude in the face of adversity.

The image of Cuthbert, sitting in a wheelchair and accompanied by Raelene Boyle, carrying the Olympic torch before Cathy Freeman lit the Flame was an extraordinary moment in the Sydney Games - three iconic female athletes taking centre stage, capturing Australia and all its diversity and tenacity.

Betty Cuthbert and her twin sister Marie Johnston at the park named in Betty's honour.

The Australian Olympic Committee said an example of Cuthbert's humility was how she prepared for the first Olympics staged in Australia.

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

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

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

"I'm so happy I got to meet such a tremendous and gracious role model, and Olympic Champion". Only Ian Thorpe's five Olympic gold beats Cuthbert's tally.

Dual world champion 400m hurdler Jana Pittman described Cuthbert as Australia's best. She'd bought some tickets to attend the Games as a spectator because she wasn't certain she'd qualify for the team.

"Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track", he posted on his official Twitter account. "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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