Australia’s ‘Golden Girl’ Betty Cuthbert dies aged 79

Sprinter was only athlete to win Olympic 100m, 200m & 400m titles

Betty Cuthbert of Australia (third from left) wins the women’s 100 metres final at the Melbourne Olympics on December 2nd, 1956. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Betty Cuthbert of Australia (third from left) wins the women’s 100 metres final at the Melbourne Olympics on December 2nd, 1956. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

 

Australian sprinter Betty Cuthbert, the only athlete to have won the Olympic 100, 200 and 400 metres titles, has died aged 79, Athletics New South Wales said on Monday.

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.

She also anchored Australia to the 4x100m relay gold at the Melbourne Games and remains the joint second most decorated Australian Olympian behind swimmer Ian Thorpe.

Cuthbert was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969 and had spent much of the latter part of her life confined to a wheelchair.

“It is a sad day for athletics with Australian great Betty Cuthbert passing away at the age of 79,” Athletics New South Wales said on its Twitter feed.

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