Australia’s “golden girl” of athletics, Betty Cuthbert sadly passed away this morning after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 79 years old.
Cuthbert became a household name following her performance at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where, as an eighteen-year-old she won a staggering three gold medals.
She suffered a hamstring injury at the 1960 games, and announced her retirement, but then came back to win a fourth gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Cuthbert was a torch bearer at the 2000 Sydney Olympics opening ceremony and she is immortalised in a statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media with Athletics Australia releasing the sad news a short while ago.
— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) August 6, 2017
Thank you for the inspirational memories, Betty Cuthbert. Rest in peace.
— Cathy Freeman (@CathyFreeman) August 6, 2017
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, of which Cuthbert was a member, also offered their condolences.
“Betty was a true inspiration and role model to all Australians,” chairman John Bertrand said.
“Her feats on the track brought together Australians as one. She loved the country and we loved her”.